India today wished Pakistan peace, progress and stability, with External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna expressing satisfaction with his visit and committing to build a relationship of trust with the country.
Winding up his three-day visit that saw signing of a key pact on a liberalised visa regime, Mr. Krishna termed his talks with the Pakistani leadership as ‘fruitful’
“Well, all this is going to help foster a much more cordial relationship between our two countries,” Mr. Krishna said, on his talks with President Asif Ali Zardari, prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
“It is my earnest desire and the desire of Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, and the people of India that we would like to see a stable, peaceful, progressive Pakistan as our neighbour because that will mean quite a bit to the entire region,” he said.
Indian officials accompanying Krishna said the Minister was “overall satisfied with his Pakistan visit“.
The minister had good discussions with Pakistan’s top leaders and other shades of political spectrum which, he asserted, should continue, they said.
Deliberations between India and Pakistan had spread over two days in Islamabad, with Mr.Krishna and Ms. Khar reviewing the last round of talks on all bilateral issues, including terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and Siachen and chalking out the roadmap for future round of discussions. The two ministers also chaired the Joint Commission Meeting.
During the visit, the two countries made significant progress on the front of people-to-people contact by signing pacts on a liberalised visa regime and cultural exchanges, though no headway was made on New Delhi’s concerns on the Mumbai terror attacks case.
On the final day of his Pakistan trip, Mr. Krishna visited this country’s cultural hub Lahore, where he met Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Governor Latif Khosa, besides visiting the historic ‘Minar-e-Pakistan’, Dera Sahib gurdwara and Data Darbar sufi shrine.
“I am happy to visit Pakistan. I wish the people of Pakistan peace and progress. India would like to see a stable and prosperous Pakistan,” Mr. Krishna wrote in the visitors’ book at the ‘Minar-e-Pakistan’ which draws tourists from all over Pakistan.
“I believe that the two sovereign countries - India and Pakistan - can and need to live respectfully and in peace, as good neighbours. Both the countries also need to work closely together to ensure a brighter future for their people,” he wrote.
To this end, Mr. Krishna added, India remains committed to building a relationship of trust and mutually beneficial all-round cooperation with Pakistan.
After arriving here from Islamabad where he had called on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Mr. Krishna noted that the two countries had signed several agreements yesterday.
Krishna also visited Gurdwara Dera Sahib which houses Ranjeet Singh’s mari (abode) and shrine of Ali Hajvari, with foolproof security in place at all venues.
Mr. Krishna met Mr. Shahbaz at the Chief Minister’s house during which both leaders discussed bilateral issues. Mr. Shahbaz said that talks between India and Pakistan should discuss all outstanding issues.
Mr. Shahbaz told Mr. Krishna that there is nothing like ‘good terrorism or bad terrorism’ and his PML-N government had a strong policy against any kind of terrorism.
“Talks between India and Pakistan should discuss all outstanding issues, including Kashmir,” said Mr. Shahbaz, adding that both countries should enhance people to people contact.
Mr. Krishna said the people of both countries wanted peace and friendly ties.
In his meeting with Governor Khosa at the Governor’s House, the Indian minister said: “The two countries have developed better ties in the era of democracy and that the issues between them cannot be resolved through one or two meetings rather it needs the process of dialogue to continue“.
Mr. Khosa said that all issues between the two countries including the Kashmir issue should be resolved through the process of dialogues.
“The people of both countries especially the youth want end the politics of hate,” Mr. Khosa who also presented a history book of the Governor’s House to the Indian guest, said.