Modi should show statesmanship: Pak MP to Track 2 dialogue

With the talks between India and Pakistan on hold, a Pakistani MP heading a parliamentarian delegation to a Track 2 dialouge process on Friday suggested Prime Minister Narendra Modi should show "statesmanship" to resolve the issue between the two countries.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 12, 2014, 22:40 PM IST

New Delhi: With the talks between India and Pakistan on hold, a Pakistani MP heading a parliamentarian delegation to a Track 2 dialouge process on Friday suggested Prime Minister Narendra Modi should show "statesmanship" to resolve the issue between the two countries.

Awais Khan Leghari, co-chariman of the dialouge process from the Pakistani side, also claimed India did not "properly reciprocate" the gesture shown by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by attending the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi.

"The kind of mandate that the government has got...The way the President of Afghanistan did. He (Modi) has to become a statesman to resolve the issues," Leghari, a former Federal Minister for Information Technology said.

He added resuming the talks between the two countries would not only help ease tensions but will also benefit the region.

"Talk if you want to. If you don't want to talk, then the whole region has to suffer. It's not just us or India. There are other countries also in the region." he said.

Lehgari said Modi did not reciprocate Nawaz Sharif's gesture of coming for swearing in ceremony.

"Your Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) did not reciprocate our Prime Minister's (Nawaz Sharif) gesture properly. Our point of view is Pakistan wants better relations with India but with self-respect.

"We are an economically strong nation. Our economy has posted better growth in the last 10-15 years than any nation in the region. What has changed in the environment when Prime Minister (Sharif) had come here? I don't think the environment has changed much. If we create non-issues into issues, then talks can never be fruitful," he said when asked about the suspension of bilateral talks.

The 12-member MP delegation, which has come as a part of Sixth Pakistan-India Parliamentarians Dialouge to better relations between the two countries, consisted of members across political parties of Pakistan while the Indian delegation had 26 MPS- 3 from BJP, 12 from Congress and 11 from other regional parties.

Asked why the Indian delegation has only three BJP MPs, Lehgari said "BJP should be in a better position to answer. I am not spokesperson for BJP. The group had strong represenation from all the political parties in Pakistan. All the key stake-holders were present."

He said BJP shoud be more "receptive" in dealing with the issue.

"Well, BJP was represented but not in the way we had expected them to be. This is exactly the time when parliamentarians need to convince their policy-makers who hopefully hear their voice to actually get down to serious business and solve the issues of the region," Lehargi said.

Leghari said the dialouge process was "Track one and a half dialouge" because of the delegation involved people who had direct access to the "corridors of power".

"When there are more than 15 members on one side and there more than 25 members on the side, if they all get toegther and want the attention of their respective governments, then they should be heard.

"And numbers do matter and I am sure the government will listen," Leghari said.

Congress MP and co-chairman of the dialouge process, Mani Shankar Aiyar said not only BJP but MPs from Shiromani Akali Dal and other BJP's allies will also be asked to take up the issue with the government.

Several issues surfaced in the talks including terrorism and JuD chief Hafeez Saeed.

"We have said that Pakistan has an independent judiciary like India and it is the judicary which has let him (Saeed) out on bail," Pakistan's Senate member Nawabzada Saifullah Magsi said.

After the two-day dialouge process, it was suggested that talks should be initiated through diplomatic channel.

"Through back-channel dialouge which is not reported, the dimension of quiet diplomacy is stressed to ensure undivided, unimpeded, undistracted negotiations and not to indefinitely withhold information from public disclosure. The hopefully positive back-channel outcome must be eventually shared with the people of both the countries," Aiyar said.

The group also recommended "restarint" in the use of force and to deal with the issue of firing across the LOC and that the DGMOs process should be used on a regular basis to prevent such incidents.