Kashmir issue should be 'addressed earnestly': Gilani to Singh

Kashmir issue should be 'addressed earnestly': Gilani to Singh

"In short, Mohali was a win-win for the Pakistan-India process of engagement," Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua said, referring to yesterday's meeting between Gilani and Singh during the thrilling semi-final match.

Longstanding issues between India and Pakistan, including the Kashmir issue, have to be "addressed earnestly" by the two sides while they focus on stability and peace in the region, Gilani was quoted as saying by Janjua.

"Of course, there are longstanding issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, that need to be addressed earnestly with a view to finding a solution that accords with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people," Gilani told Singh.

In response to questions that the two leaders had not referred to the Kashmir issue during their public comments yesterday, Janjua said that "Kashmir was discussed in the context of bilateral relations".

Pakistan is looking at the "entire engagement in a positive manner" and the two premiers had provided an impetus to the process, she said.

Januja said Pakistan looks forward to meaningful progress in the ongoing process.
"We do not under-estimate the difficulties but have faith and confidence in a bright future for the peoples of our region," Janjua told a weekly news briefing.

"Constructive engagement is essential so that we move towards the goal of establishing good neighbourly and cooperative relations.

"Prime Minister Gilani assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that indeed this was what the government and people of Pakistan desired," Janjua said.

Talking about the meeting between the two leaders, she quoted Gilani as having told Singh: "Both sides needed to also focus on the issues of stability and peace in the region."

Pakistan and India, as two important states in South Asia, "must endeavour to take ownership for their affairs with a view to advancing the objectives of stability and peace in our region and fulfilling the aspirations of the people" of the region, the premier said.

Gilani also stressed that Pakistan wants to "move towards a comprehensive and broad-ranging engagement with India on the basis of equality, mutual trust, mutual interest and mutual respect".

The Pakistani premier visited Mohali, the venue of the semi-final won by India, at the invitation of Prime Minister Singh. The two leaders watched the match together and Singh also hosted a dinner in Gilani's honour

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