Pak offers 'olive branch' to India

“Pakistan and India faced common problems and it was in the interest of the whole region for the two nuclear powers to resume the dialogue which had stopped after last year’s Mumbai attacks,” Gilani said, while addressing students and faculty members of the army’s Command and Staff College in Quetta. However, he did not elaborate on what he meant by olive branch.

Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and senior military officials were present.

Gilani’s comments came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India wanted peace with Pakistan and that he would meet its leadership “more than halfway” if it cracked down on terror directed against this country by taking “strong and effective” steps.

Gilani said Pakistan was fighting the war against terrorism for its own survival. The government started military operation in parts of Malakand division as a last option after militants challenged the writ of the government and wanted to disintegrate the country despite the implementation of Islamic laws, he said.

The government will not tolerate anybody who casts an evil eye on the sovereignty of Pakistan and establishes a parallel government in the country, Gilani said. He said he was hopeful that the government would win the war against terror with the support of the people.

A “3R” strategy comprising relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction had been adopted to overcome challenges that emerged after the launching of military operations in Malakand, Gilani said.

Noting that the government had allocated Rs 1 billion for the relief and rehabilitation of people displaced by the fighting, Gilani called on the world community to realise the suffering of Pakistan and help it overcome its financial and other problems.

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