Pakistani PM again lauds Manmohan’s ‘vision and leadership’


Islamabad : For the second time in as many days, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Friday lauded the “vision and leadership” of his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh even as he reiterated that the composite dialogue process was “the only way forward” for the two countries.

Support TwoCircles

“I must appreciate the vision and leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh for his speech in parliament (Wednesday on the July 16 India-Pakistan joint statement issued at Sharm el-Sheikh),” Gilani told reporters after inaugurating the Islamabad Stock Exchange Towers.

“It is the role of the leaders to serve as a bridge, rather than erecting walls,” he said, adding: “If the composite dialogue does not start, it will only favour the terrorists.”

On Thursday too, Gilani had lauded the “statesmanship” of Manmohan Singh, terming his speech in parliament a “bold vision of peace and prosperity”.

Under fire from the opposition, Manmohan Singh Wednesday asserted that there was no dilution or rupture of national consensus on countering terrorism emanating from Pakistan, but made it clear that there was no alternative but to continue the engagement with Islamabad.

Allaying apprehensions over the move to delink action on terrorism from the composite dialogue process as contained in the India-Pakistan joint statement, Manmohan Singh said in the Lok Sabha that bilateral engagement or the dialogue process can’t move forward if terrorist attacks continue from across the border.

“It is, therefore, in our vital interest to make sincere efforts to live in peace with Pakistan. But despite the best of intentions, we cannot move forward if terrorist attacks launched from Pakistani soil continue to kill and injure our citizens, here and abroad,” he said.

India had frozen the composite dialogue process in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage that New Delhi has blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror outfit.

Pakistan has accepted that the LeT staged the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai mayhem that claimed the lives of more than 170 people. The authorities here have also arrested and charge-sheeted five key LeT operatives, including its top commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and communications expert Zarar Shah.

Pakistan has, however, been dilly-dallying on Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the LeT that has now morphed into the Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD). India says Saeed masterminded the Mumbai attacks.

Saeed had been arrested and placed under house arrest in December 2008 after the UN proscribed the JuD for its role in the Mumbai mayhem. Citing lack of evidence, the Lahore High Court had June 2 ordered his release.

The federal and Punjab governments had appealed this in the Supreme Court but on July 14, the provincial government disassociated itself from the case, saying the federal government had not furnished “solid evidence” to warrant Saeed’s continued house arrest.

On July 28, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Saeed would not be arrested till adequate proof was provided of his involvement in the Mumbai carnage.

“We cannot arrest him till adequate proof is provided. There is no proof,” a defiant Malik told a private TV news channel in an interview.