Pak terms Gilani-Manmohan meeting as ‘new opening’

Pakistan Prime Minister said that many outstanding issues had been resolved.

Updated: Apr 01, 2011, 11:39 AM IST

Islamabad: The Pakistan Government has termed the Mohali meeting between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh as a new opening for both countries to settle their outstanding disputes through dialogue.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Gilani met on Thursday at the presidency and expressed satisfaction over the resumption of talks between India and Pakistan, the Dawn reported.

“Regular interaction at all levels would not only provide a solid platform to resolve our mutual issues, but would also help reduce misperceptions and mistrusts,” presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar quoted Zardari, as saying.

Gilani briefed the president on his discussion with Dr Singh and Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, and also on the outcome of the recent meeting between the interior secretaries of the two countries.

He termed interior secretaries’ level talks as successful, and said that many outstanding issues had been resolved.

“The dialogue process between Pakistan and India were always suspended in the past when issues at interior secretary level talks remained unresolved,” the spokesman quoted Gilani as saying.

The bilateral dialogue was interrupted after the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, but there was progress on this specific issue this time as the two sides agreed to work closely in investigating the case.

This was confirmed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general Waseem Ahmed, who was part of the Interior Secretary’s delegation.

“India has agreed to work closely on the Mumbai attack case and the government will shortly send a judicial commission to Mumbai to interact with Indian investigators,” Ahmed said after returning from India.

Zardari welcomed Gilani’s meeting with the Indian leadership, describing it as a positive development for the region, and expressed the hope that it would boost efforts for a meaningful dialogue on all outstanding issues.

“They were of the view that the Indian prime minister took a bold step by inviting Pakistani leaders to the semi-final and he could have been in an awkward situation if Prime Minister Gilani would not have flown to Mohali,” Babar said.

The Prime Minister said he had also invited Dr Singh and Sonia Gandhi to visit Pakistan.

“We hope that they will accept the invitation and make an announcement about it at an appropriate time,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan told reporters outside the Parliament House that the Indian leaders had accepted the invitation.