Indo-Pak dialogue reduced trust deficit: Gilani

Talks between India and Pakistan have reduced the trust deficit and the two sides should step up efforts to create a solid foundation for taking the peace process forward, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said today.

The resolution of differences between the two countries will usher in an era of peace, progress and prosperity for the people of the subcontinent, Gilani said during a meeting with a group of visiting Indian parliamentarians.

Pakistan is committed to a "just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue", he said.
At the same time, he spoke of the need for "India to ensure full implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty".

Referring to the completion of the first round of the resumed dialogue process that began last year, Gilani said: "The talks have served to reduce trust deficit.

Both sides need to exert greater effort towards creating a solid foundation for taking the process forward."

Pakistan looks forward to the next round of bilateral talks at the (Foreign) Secretaries' level.
We hope that the next round of talks would yield positive and forward movement in all the eight segments contained in the composite dialogue framework," he said.

Gilani said it was his "most cherished dream to see Pakistan and India moving forward towards friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations".

He said his government is committed to a "constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India".

While highlighting the positive aspects of the resumed dialogue process, the premier highlighted issues that bedevil bilateral relations, including the Kashmir issue and differences over the sharing of river waters.

"Pakistan is committed to a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. The CBMs, agreed upon between the two countries on Kashmir, have paid dividends.

The recent cross-LOC measures announced by the two Foreign Ministers to further ease intra-Kashmir trade and travel must be implemented in all sincerity and efficacy," he said.

On the issue of sharing of river waters, Gilani said there was "a need by India to ensure full implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty and address concerns relating to that".

The delegation of Indian lawmakers led by former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha was in Islamabad for a two-day dialogue with Pakistani parliamentarians. The talks facilitated by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development focussed on the development of trade ties.

Gilani said he believed that enhancing people-to-people contacts at diverse levels is a key to deepening engagement between both countries.

Peace and stability in South Asia are "critical factors" for socio-economic development of the people and parliamentarians of India and Pakistan can play a positive role in taking the peace process forward by reducing trust deficit, Gilani said.

"Peace can only be achieved by developing understanding. Parliamentarians can play a key role in facilitating the dialogue process and conflict resolution in a just and fair manner on mutually acceptable terms," he added.

India and Pakistan can move towards good neighbourly relations "only through constructive engagement," he remarked.

"It is no doubt a slow but incremental process which needs careful diplomatic handling from both sides," he said.

Gilani recalled his "excellent interactions" with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, most recently in the Maldives on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit, and said he was "encouraged by the Indian leadership's statements about constructive engagement with Pakistan".

"Pakistan fully reciprocates these sentiments," he said, while welcoming the decision to revive the Pakistan-India Joint Commission.

He said he hoped the commission would hold its meeting at an early date.
Pakistan is also keen to build people-to-people contacts and mutually beneficial exchanges between parliamentarians from both countries, he said.

In this regard, Pakistan is looking forward to the visit of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar in February and the visit of Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on February 13.

"We also look forward to the visit of External Affairs Minister S M Krishna for the ministerial review meeting at the end of the second round of talks of the resumed dialogue process.

These high level ministerial and parliamentary visits are extremely important in building an environment of trust and mutual confidence," Gilani said.

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