PM, Sonia pitch for dialogue

Pakistan should curb terror on its soil, reiterates Manmohan


At a public meeting here before flagging off the Anantnag- Qazigund railway service, he said common people in Pakistan and India desired peace, prosperity and security, while  the terrorists were out to destroy it.

He, however, made it clear that the government of India would not talk with those indulging in violence. The prime minister also said for resumption of the dialogue process, Pakistan must curb the terror groups operating on its soil, destroy their infrastructure and bring to justice those involved in crimes against humanity in India.

“The time of bloodshed and terrorism is coming to an end in Kashmir. People in Kashmir want a peaceful solution to their problems through talks. This was evident from the  huge participation of the masses in the Lok Sabha and assembly polls held in the state during the last one year,” Singh said.

The prime minister said his government respected the sentiments of the people and would hold free talks with all sections of the people.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who also addressed the public meeting, said there was no problem which could not be solved through talks.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Kashmir was a political issue and needed a political solution through dialogue. He extended his government’s full cooperation for creating a conducive atmosphere for the talks.

Union Ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and Dr Farooq Abdullah and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed were also present at the meeting. The prime minister began his speech by congratulating the people for the rail service from Anantnag to Qazigund. “Time is not far when the rail will move from Srinagar to Jammu,” he said.

Singh described as a bold decision the reopening of Srinagar –Muzaffarabad and Poonch- Rawalakot roads between J&K and PoK and the resumption of bus services and trade on the two traditional routes.

He said his initiative for talks with Pakistan should not be taken as a weakness but as a sign of strength. “We are ready for dialogue with Pakistan on all issues. From 2004 to 2007, we held successful and productive talks with Pakistan. It was after 60 years that travel became possible across the Line of Control (LoC). The divided families were reunited. During that period, the trade between the two countries got increased by three times,” the prime minister said.

Singh said after prolonged tension, it seemed that permanent peace in the two countries was round the corner. But the terror groups dashed this hope as they want permanent enmity between the two countries. They project a great religion of tolerance and peace wrongly to cause wedge between two countries and the people, he said.

The prime minister said he firmly believed that the common man in Pakistan wanted friendly ties with India and the people in India have the same wish. “I know that the trade across the LoC is not having the required facilities. There are no banking facilities. Customs facilities need to be strengthened. There are no trade fairs,” he said.

Singh said even the Pakistani prisoners in India and Indian prisoners in Pakistan could not go to their respective countries after completing their jail term. These all humanitarian issues need to be addressed. “And we are ready for talks with Pakistan on all these issues,” he said.

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