Zardari, Gilani on same page vis-a-vis Indo-Pak ties


ANKARA/ISLAMABAD – President Asif Ali Zardari told Turkish daily Today’s Zaman on Tuesday that Pakistan had a clear strategy on how to tackle terrorism and that dialogue was the only way to normalise relations with India, as Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani showered praise on his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, calling him a sensible person “who really wants Pakistan and India to resolve their contentious issues” and stated that two countries could not afford another war.
Calling terrorism “a curse”, Zardari said it had nothing to do with any faith or creed. He said terrorism was a global problem and it required a global response.
“It is a toxic brew that thrives on a perceived sense of injustice, economic deprivation and marginalisation in society,” Zardari was quoted as saying. Zardari said Pakistan was perusing a “3Ds policy” against terrorism – dialogue, development and deterrence. As for troubled relations with India, Zardari said, he believed dialogue was the only way to peace with India, stressing that Pakistan was committed to a “serious, sustained and constructive engagement” with its nuclear-armed neighbour. He commended the maturity of the Turkish democracy and its economic achievements. Zardari also praised Turkey’s initiative in recent years and acknowledged the role Turkey played at international and regional forums.
Meanwhile, Gilani said that Pakistan and India could not afford another war and that terrorists in the country were getting their instructions from “a foreign source”, private TV channel Dawn News reported. Responding to a question raised by a senior civil servant, a participant of the 94th National Management Course where Gilani was giving a speech, the PM spoke highly of Singh, saying the Indian PM had expressed the desire to do “something really positive” for both countries several times in their meeting.
Gilani said Singh was keen to resolve all the important issues between Pakistan and India, including the contentious issues of Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek. “I have met Dr Singh four times officially – in Colombo in 2008, Sharm El Sheikh in 2009, Bhutan in 2010 and India in 2011. Besides that, we also met unofficially several times at various occasions and during these meetings, the Indian premier also expressed his desire many a time to fight together our common enemies: poverty, hunger and unemployment,” he added.
Earlier, Gilani asked civil servants to keep their work separate from politics and urged them to follow the priorities set by the elected representatives of the people. The PM said that as implementers of government policies and contributors to policy-making, the role of senior civil servants was pivotal to the success of the transitional phase of polity and administration.