Gilani hopes stalled Indo-Pak dialogue may resume soon

Gilani hopes stalled Indo-Pak dialogue may resume soon

Gilani made the remarks during a meeting with Population Welfare Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, who visited India recently and met several leaders, including Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. During her meeting with Awan, Sonia Gandhi sent her felicitations to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and the people of Pakistan on the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment Bill, which strips the President of his sweeping powers and removes changes made to the constitution by military dictators.

Gandhi lauded the Bhutto family's sacrifices for democracy and appreciated Gilani's reconciliatory policy to bring political stability to Pakistan. "While reciprocating the goodwill gesture of the Indian politicians, the Prime Minister hoped for the early resumption of the bilateral dialogue between the two countries," said a statement issued by the Prime Minister's media office.

Pakistan desires peace and stability in the region and looks forward to establish friendly bilateral relations with all the countries of the region, Gilani said. Pakistan is trying to solve regional issues through dialogue as stability will usher in prosperity in the region, he added. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Gilani held brief encounters at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington last week but no meeting was held.

"Lets see when we visit Bhutan," Gilani had said this week  when asked whether he will meet Singh on the sidelines of the SAARC summit there. Awan briefed the Prime Minister on her visit to India and her meetings with leaders of major political parties, especially Sonia Gandhi.

She said the formation of a "Friendship Forum", especially a Women Parliamentarians Forum, was discussed in her meetings with lawmakers to bring both countries closer. The Indian leaders stressed the need for people-to-people contacts and free bilateral trade. They also discussed proposals for socio-cultural heritage exchange through ministries and youth of both countries, she said. While in India, Awan also attended a reception to mark the wedding of cricketer Shoaib Malik and tennis star Sania Mirza. Awan represents Shoaib's hometown of Sialkot in parliament.

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