Pressure on Indian PM stalling ties: Gilani

Pak PM claimed a breakthrough could not be achieved because of domestic "pressure" on Indian PM.

Last Updated: Oct 23, 2010, 15:09 PM IST

Islamabad: Voicing disappointment that the promise of better ties held out by his meetings with Manmohan Singh had not yet been realised, Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday claimed that a breakthrough could not be achieved because of the domestic "pressure" faced by the Indian leader.

"I have had some productive exchanges with my Indian counterpart. I am disappointed that the promise of those meetings has not yet been realised. Full resumption of the dialogue process has yet to happen," he said in an interaction with members of the Diplomatic Correspondents Association of Pakistan.

"The only way forward for India and Pakistan is dialogue," Gilani said.

Lasting peace and security in South Asia "can only be achieved with a sincere effort to resolve long-standing disputes" and this requires leadership, vision and courage, he added.

Asked what had gone wrong in several recent meetings and talks between India and Pakistan, Gilani said he believed no breakthrough could be made because of domestic pressures faced by Singh.

"I think the Prime Minister (Singh) could not stand the pressure within Parliament and India," he said.

Replying to a question on a proposal made by President Asif Ali Zardari that Pakistan would not resort to a "first use" option for its nuclear arsenal, Gilani said the country had made it clear to the world community that it does "not want to fight with India" or its other neighbours.

"We are a nuclear power and yet we are saying we do not want to fight with our neighbours. The objective is that we want peace and better relations," he said, adding that his government will never compromise on national interests while resolving outstanding issues.

"The capability of the Indian military is Pakistan-centric and that of the Pakistani military is India-centric... We want to have dialogue and cordial relations with India. We don`t want to fight because both have the (nuclear) capability," he said.

Dispelling the impression that his government had failed to address outstanding issues with India, Gilani said he had had several meetings with Singh and a joint statement issued after their meeting at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt last year had for the first time included a reference to the situation in Balochistan.

Dr Singh had agreed to his suggestion that bilateral relations should not be held hostage to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, he said.

Dr Singh was also ready to discuss all "core issues, including Kashmir," he said.

Pakistan, Gilani said, was "seriously concerned" at the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir and would continue to extend "its full moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people in their just cause."

"The US is in a position to play an extremely important role to facilitate talks between Pakistan and India to resolve the (Kashmir issue)," he said.

Pakistan had been "quite satisfied" with reports that the Obama administration had plans to appoint former President Bill Clinton as a special envoy on Kashmir but it later turned out that Richard Holbrooke was appointed only as a Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said.

PTI