Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani - Photo by AFP

LAHORE: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said his recent meeting with the Indian premier in the Maldives remained successful.

“We both agreed that Pakistan and India should have good relations in order to boost our economies and to maintain peace by eliminating terrorism in the region,” the prime minister said at a seminar on “Sikh-Muslim Sanjh (friendship)” held under the aegis of the Dayal Singh Research and Cultural Forum which marked the 542nd birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak at a local hotel on Tuesday.

Mr Gilani described the ongoing dialogue between Pakistan and India in New Delhi as a follow-up to enhance efforts to expand trade relations.

As for minorities’ rights in Pakistan, Mr Gilani said the PPP was the only party that had done a lot for the Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and other minorities. “The PPP is an enlightened party which has always released huge funds for various projects relating to the minorities’ welfare by following the ideals of the Quaid-i-Azam,” he said.

PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he said, had ensured rights of minorities in the Constitution of 1973. Benazir Bhutto kept the tradition alive by working on projects relating to repair/construction of temples and other worship places of minorities.

He said: “Guru Nanak Jee dedicated his entire life for promoting peace, brotherhood and harmony. That is why I say that Sikhs and Muslims are the heirs of Punjab.”

He announced Rs10 million for the Dayal Singh Research and Cultural Forum for promoting inter-religion activities in the province.

The premier also directed the Evacuee Trust Property Board’s chairman to immediately look into the matter of a suitable land for launching construction of Baba Guru Nanak University.

Earlier, ETPB chairman Syed Asif Hashmi urged the Sikh pilgrims to help Pakistan get the required water share released by India in order to irrigate the land of Guru Nanak (Punjab). He also appreciated the premier for releasing huge funds for various projects for minorities’ uplift.

India Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chairman Sardar Ram Paul Singh, Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chairman Sardar Sham Singh and others also spoke.

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