Indo-Pak dialogue reduced trust deficit: Gilani

Pakistan is committed to a "just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue", Gilani said.

Islamabad: Talks between India and Pakistan
have reduced the trust deficit and the two sides should step
up efforts to create a solid foundation for taking the peace
process forward, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday.

The resolution of differences between the two countries
will usher in an era of peace, progress and prosperity for the
people of the subcontinent, Gilani said during a meeting with
a group of visiting Indian parliamentarians.

Pakistan is committed to a "just and peaceful resolution
of the Kashmir issue", he said.

At the same time, he spoke of the need for "India to
ensure full implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty".

Referring to the completion of the first round of the
resumed dialogue process that began last year, Gilani said:
"The talks have served to reduce trust deficit.

Both sides need to exert greater effort towards creating
a solid foundation for taking the process forward."

Pakistan looks forward to the next round of bilateral
talks at the (Foreign) Secretaries` level.

We hope that the next round of talks would yield
positive and forward movement in all the eight segments
contained in the composite dialogue framework," he said.

Gilani said it was his "most cherished dream to see
Pakistan and India moving forward towards friendly,
cooperative and good neighbourly relations".

He said his government is committed to a "constructive,
sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with

While highlighting the positive aspects of the resumed
dialogue process, the premier highlighted issues that bedevil
bilateral relations, including the Kashmir issue and
differences over the sharing of river waters.

"Pakistan is committed to a just and peaceful resolution
of the Kashmir issue. The CBMs, agreed upon between the two
countries on Kashmir, have paid dividends.

The recent cross-LOC measures announced by the two
Foreign Ministers to further ease intra-Kashmir trade and
travel must be implemented in all sincerity and efficacy," he

On the issue of sharing of river waters, Gilani said
there was "a need by India to ensure full implementation of
the Indus Waters Treaty and address concerns relating to

The delegation of Indian lawmakers led by former External
Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha was in Islamabad for a two-day
dialogue with Pakistani parliamentarians. The talks
facilitated by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative
Development focussed on the development of trade ties.

Gilani said he believed that enhancing people-to-people
contacts at diverse levels is a key to deepening engagement
between both countries.

Peace and stability in South Asia are "critical factors"
for socio-economic development of the people and
parliamentarians of India and Pakistan can play a positive
role in taking the peace process forward by reducing trust
deficit, Gilani said.

"Peace can only be achieved by developing
understanding. Parliamentarians can play a key role in
facilitating the dialogue process and conflict resolution in a
just and fair manner on mutually acceptable terms," he added.

India and Pakistan can move towards good neighbourly
relations "only through constructive engagement," he remarked.
"It is no doubt a slow but incremental process which
needs careful diplomatic handling from both sides," he said.

Gilani recalled his "excellent interactions" with his
Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, most recently in the
Maldives on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit, and said he was
"encouraged by the Indian leadership`s statements about
constructive engagement with Pakistan".

"Pakistan fully reciprocates these sentiments," he
said, while welcoming the decision to revive the
Pakistan-India Joint Commission.

He said he hoped the commission would hold its meeting
at an early date.

Pakistan is also keen to build people-to-people contacts
and mutually beneficial exchanges between parliamentarians
from both countries, he said.

In this regard, Pakistan is looking forward to the visit
of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar in February and the visit of
Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on February 13.

"We also look forward to the visit of External Affairs
Minister S M Krishna for the ministerial review meeting at the
end of the second round of talks of the resumed dialogue

These high level ministerial and parliamentary visits
are extremely important in building an environment of trust
and mutual confidence," Gilani said.