Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday sought the resumption of the stalled composite dialogue with India, saying Pakistan wanted good relations with its neighbours on the basis of “equality.”
Mr. Gilani said he backed opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif’s comments in an interview about the need to improve relations between the two countries and to resume the peace process.
“As far as Nawaz Sharif is concerned, it is his wish and ours that the composite dialogue should be taken forward,” Mr. Gilani told reporters while visiting PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan at his residence in Rawalpindi.
“Naturally, we will work in the interests of the country. We want good relations with all neighbouring countries on the basis of equality, sovereignty, self-respect, dignity and honour. On these issues, we will not compromise,” he said in response to a question.
India put the composite dialogue on hold in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks carried out by operatives of the Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba. New Delhi said a “meaningful dialogue” cannot be possible till Islamabad takes effective steps to end infiltration and dismantle terror infrastructure.
Pakistan has been insisting that the composite dialogue should be resumed without conditions.
Mr. Gilani said Interior Minister Rehman Malik would give Pakistan’s reply to the latest dossier provided by India on the Mumbai attacks “at the appropriate forum“.
He also said he had consulted Sharif, a two—time former premier, before meeting his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in Sharm el—Sheikh last month.
Mr. Sharif had given his “full blessings” and expressed his desire for better relations with India, he said.
In reply to another question, Mr. Gilani said there was no linkage between the possible trial of Pervez Musharraf on charges of treason and the National Reconciliation Ordinance, a controversial law passed by the former President to grant amnesty to Pakistan People’s Party leaders, including incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari, in graft cases.
“These are different issues,” he said.
Mr. Gilani refused to answer a question on differences between the ruling PPP and the opposition PML—N over the procedure to be adopted to try Musharraf.
“The PPP and PML—N are two different parties with own manifestos and programmes. The PPP is moving forward according to its manifesto and the PML-N is playing the role of opposition. All of us should have political maturity and we need to strengthen the system and institutions,” he said.