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Gilani for resumption of Indo-Pak composite dialogue

Last Updated: Saturday, November 7, 2009 - 19:37

Lahore: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani on Saturday made a strong pitch for the resumption of the
Indo-Pak composite dialogue, saying Pakistan wants good
relations with its neighbours "on the basis of equality".

Favouring resumption of the stalled dialogue process,
Gilani said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also stated that
he was ready for discussions on all core issues.
Responding to a question on whether Pakistan had
"concrete evidence" on allegations of India backing militants
in Pakistan`s tribal areas, he said the issue will be taken up
"when we sit at the negotiating table".

"Manmohan Singh has said he is ready for discussions on
all core issues. Our objective is that the composite dialogue
should be held so that we can discuss all such issues," Gilani
told reporters on the sidelines of an official function here.

Pakistan, he said, wants good relations with its
neighbours "on the basis of equality".

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira and Interior
Minister Rehman Malik recently claimed that Pakistani troops
have found India-made arms and equipment in South Waziristan.

Despite these claims by the ministers and chief military
spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas, Pakistan is yet to present any
evidence or materials to back up its allegations.

India has dismissed Pakistani allegations as baseless.

India suspended the composite dialogue in the wake of
last year`s Mumbai attacks, which were carried out by the
Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba.

In response to another question, Gilani said the military
operation against the Taliban in South Waziristan is being
conducted very effectively.
"Inshallah, the operation will be completed before the
expected timeframe... It will not take very long due to the
support from the people," he said without giving details.

The Pakistan Army claims it has killed over 450 militants
and captured several key Taliban bases since it launched the
operation in mid-October.

Asked about the fate of the National Reconciliation
Ordinance that was issued by former military ruler Pervez
Musharraf to grant immunity to President Asif Ali Zardari and
other Pakistan People`s Party leaders in graft cases, Gilani
said the controversial law had "been buried forever".

The government had decided to present the NRO in
parliament for ratification in accordance with a verdict of
the Supreme Court.

However, this plan was dropped due to opposition from
political parties, Gilani said.

"The sense of the House was that it should not be brought
to parliament and we respected that," he said.

In response to another question about the scrapping of
the President`s sweeping powers to dissolve parliament and
dismiss the Prime Minister, Gilani said these power are
"irrelevant under the circumstances".

"When the judiciary is so active, (these powers) would be
immediately challenged if they were used," he said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, November 7, 2009 - 19:37
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