We want to settle all issues with India;PM

Yousaf Raza GilaniLAHORE: Terming establishment of peace in the region the key to eradicating poverty, disease, injustice, ignorance and unemployment, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday that Pakistan wanted to settle all issues with India through dialogue.

Delivering his keynote address here on Tuesday at the international seminar on “Sikh Muslim Sanjh Tareekh De Aainey Vich” organised by Dyal Singh Research and Cultural Forum (DSRCF), the premier said the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government believed in friendly relations with all neighbouring countries. He said Pakistan’s Commerce Ministry had initiated the process of dialogue for balance of trade and to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India and the negotiation between the commerce secretaries of both countries were underway in New Delhi.

“Recently, I have had a very successful meeting with Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in the Maldives. We agreed that negotiation is the way to resolve all outstanding issues,” said Gilani. The prime minister said all the PPP governments took practical steps, which were never taken by any other regime, for the welfare and prosperity of the minorities in Pakistan. He said the PPP-led democratic government believed in interfaith harmony and the PPP was a progressive and enlightened party.

He said the party’s manifesto specifically mentioned that followers of other faiths were citizens of Pakistan and enjoyed equal rights under the constitution. He said the government had completed many development projects through special funds in the minorities’ areas. The prime minister also congratulated the entire Sikh community on the 543rd birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak and welcomed them to Pakistan.

“The people of Pakistan, especially of Punjab, extend warm welcome to you on your arrival here, and they pray for your safe return after your visit to holy places and the performance of your religious rituals in a peaceful environment. I am sure you must have got spiritual satisfaction in the real sense during your stay here,” he said. He said personalities like Baba Guru Nanak were rare.

There were hundreds of religions in the world today and the essential message of all of them was the promotion of peace and love, he added. “Today we are in need of religious tolerance which was propagated by Baba Guru Nanak, who accepted the Oneness of God as the ultimate truth and travelled all four corners of the world to spread this message. He went to Tibet, holy cities of Makkah and Madina. A memorial in Baghdad today has the name of ‘Nanak Faqeer’ written on it,” he said. – PT