Pakistan wants peaceful, good neighbourly relations with India

May 9th, 2008 - 4:21 pm ICT by admin  

By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, May 9 (IANS) Asserting that Pakistan wanted peaceful and good neighbourly relations with India, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Friday said these were necessary to end poverty and unemployment in the region. “We are for excellent friendly relations with India and the present government gives priority to the peace talks with the neighbouring country,” Qureshi told the Senate, or the Upper House of Parliament, while winding up a debate on the country’s foreign policy.

The minister said his government is working to improve relations with all neighbours particularly India. “It’s our government that has given a new life to talks with India,” said the minister adding that New Delhi has also attached hopes with the democratic government in Pakistan.

He said Pakistan will continue political and moral support to the people of Kashmir. “We will continue providing support in their efforts - politically and morally - until the Kashmir issue is resolved.”

He said it was imperative to improve relations with India to reduce poverty and unemployment in the country.

He also said that Pakistan will never allow any aggression against Iran as it will destroy efforts for peace in the region.

The minister said Pakistan has historical relations with Iran and Afghanistan. “In Afghanistan we want long-term peace for which we are ready to provide any help,” he said.

Earlier, opposition leader Senator Dr. Abdul Malik said Pakistan’s foreign policy was based on “pro-West and anti-India doctrine.”

“There are contradictions in the foreign and internal policies while the foreign policy is based on pro-West and anti-India doctrine,” Malik said.

“We are part and parcel of the war against the terror but at the same time we are blamed that we promote terrorism,” he added and suggested having friendly relations with neighbouring countries, especially India, to cut military spending.

Another member Azam Swati opined that an independent foreign policy can guarantee sovereignty and solidarity of the country.

He criticised the previous governments for failing to secure a durable settlement to the Kashmir issue during the last 60 years.

Swati further called for maintaining peace in the tribal areas.

Senator Nisar A. Memon observed that before 1999, Pakistan’s defence needs were fulfilled by one super power “but now we have made aircraft and submarines with the cooperation of China”.

He said a command and control system has been introduced to protect the country’s nuclear assets while an agreement has been signed with China to overcome power shortages.

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