Gilani, Cameron discuss Indo-Pak peace process

Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani and his British counterpart David Cameron discussed key issues of mutual interest.

London: Indo-Pak peace process came up for discussion during talks between Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani and his British counterpart David Cameron here, besides other key issues of mutual interest, including Afghanistan.

During the meeting, Gilani briefed Cameron "on the ongoing Pakistan-India Peace process", besides holding "in-depth discussions on regional and international issues of mutual interest", a joint statement said.

The statement said: "They underscored the importance of peace, stability and security in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process.”

"They discussed the remaining challenges and agreed to continue working closely on Afghanistan".

"Prime Minister Gilani briefed Prime Minister Cameron on the recommendations approved by the Parliament regarding re-engagement with the US and also briefed him on the ongoing Pakistan-India Peace process," it added.

On the issue terrorism, the joint statement said Cameron "recognised the huge sacrifices being made by the people of Pakistan", and added that both Prime Ministers "committed to enhance the already strong co-operation on countering improvised explosive devices, which cause so many of the needless deaths in Pakistan".

Gilani, who is here on a five-day visit, promised his British counterpart that his government was committed to holding elections "in accordance with the Constitution”, days after the UK questioned Pakistan`s ability to conduct free and fair polls in the country in 2013.

Stating that this was an "important time" for his country, a joint statement issued after meeting Cameron quoted Gilani as stating that "his Government was committed to holding free and fair elections in accordance with the Constitution".

Gilani`s ongoing five-day visit to Britain was preceded by scathing remarks about Pakistan in a Foreign Office report on human rights, which expressed "serious concerns" about human rights in Pakistan, which was included in the 28 `Countries of Concern`.

The report said: "Concerns persist about the primacy of Parliament within the Pakistani system, especially the extent of civilian government control over the military and intelligence services, and the threat of the government being undermined through extra-constitutional means".

It added: "With federal and provincial elections due by May 2013, important questions remain about Pakistan’s ability to run free, fair and credible elections".

With Gilani`s political fate undecided after being convicted by the Supreme Court for contempt, no major initiatives have so far been announced, except for a joint statement and two `roadmaps` on trade and investment, and culture, between the two countries.

The trade and investment `roadmap` seeks to achieve the target of increasing bilateral trade to GBP 2.5 billion by 2015.