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> 5th Round of Pakistan-India MPs Dialogue begins today
Pak-India Parliamentarians Dialogue V
September 19, 2013

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September 19; The 5th Round of the Pakistan-India Parliamentary Dialogue began today with inauguration by Senator Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, Chairman Senate of Pakistan.


The Pakistan-India Parliamentarians’ Dialogue, facilitated by PILDAT, is led from the Indian side by Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, former Union Minister and Member of Indian Rajya Sabha, while Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Defence, Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA, Former Federal Minister for Defence, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, MNA, Former Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and Mr. Zahid Hamid, MNA, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, officiated the dialogue from the Pakistan side.


Senator Nayyer Hussain Bokhari said that he is a firm believer in the centrality of dialogue and a healthy exchange of ideas as a key to resolving all issues, no matter how complex or distressing. Congratulating PILDAT for providing a regular opportunity to MPs of both sides to deliberate on issues, Senator Bokhari said that the channels for dialogue must always remain open between the two countries. As representatives of the public, MPs are best placed to discuss amongst each other the critical issues of concern between Pakistan and India, he said. It is the use of Parliamentary diplomacy which can facilitate an exchange of views and perceptions in a candid and frank manner which the hallmark of MPs’ Dialogues, he said.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, former Union Minister and Member of Indian Rajya Sabha, said that while he cannot guarantee that the MPs Dialogue will provide any solution to Pakistan-India issues, however, he can guarantee that without any dialogue between the two countries, there will be no peace. He said the objective of the MPs Dialogue is not to reach any compromise but our mission is to build an environment of peace. He congratulated Pakistan for a successful transfer of Government from one Civilian regime to another through Pakistan’s 10th General Election held in May 2013.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, while welcoming the Dialogue participants, said that in the Pakistani political spectrum, friendship with India enjoys across the board political support. This is why, he added, relations with India have not figured as a divisive issue in 6 consecutive Elections in Pakistan. Supporting the vision of regional integrity of the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, he said the two countries have to join hands to bring in greater regional integration. He also urged India to return to the India-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project. Going forward, he said, a prosperous Afghanistan beyond 2014, is an important challenge for both Pakistan and India.


Mr. Zahid Hamid, MNA, Federal Minister for Science & Technology, said that his party, PML-N, fully supports the aims and objectives of this Parliamentarians Dialogue. This Dialogue by MPs have been encouraging for peace and progress of the two countries. Mr. Nawaz Sharif was the first Prime Minister in 1999 to have invited the Indian PM at the time Mr. Vajpayee to Pakistan. The relationship unfortunately was derailed in the past 14 years. However, with the PML-N back in Government, there are greater prospects of peace between Pakistan and India.

Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, MNA, Deputy Parliamentary Leader PTI in the National Assembly and former Foreign Minister of Pakistan, said that while we resolve our own issues, Pakistan and India also need to adopt a regional approach to resolving the issues of Afghanistan. He criticised the slow speed of dialogue and progress on Pak-India relations. The two countries, once again, are a hostage to issues on LoC and must resume dialogue in order to resolve all issues.

Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA and former Defence Minister, said that the dialogue between two countries should be based on conflict resolution. Issues such as Siachin, for instance can be resolved. He said that as MPs we are here to create and maintain an atmosphere for dialogue and peace that the two Governments must capitalize on. Resolving old issues will usher us into the realm of discussing new possibilities of peace and collaboration.


Senator Nasreen Jalil, representing MQM, said that her party supports peace and good relations with India. Both countries have suffered enormously in the process and must now move forward towards achieving durable peace. Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism, a fact that India must recognize, she added. The new Government in Pakistan is invested in improving relations with India and enjoys bi-partisan political support in this regard.

Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the JUI-F said that his party has always maintained a principle position of supporting peace between Pakistan and India. The two countries need to move on and work towards peace.

Senator Afrasiyab Khattak of the ANP said that while the two countries were carved out in India on the principle that the two people could not live together in 1947, it appears now that the two neighbours now cannot stay apart as peaceful relations between the two are the need of both countries.


In his Welcome Remarks at the start of the Dialogue, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT, while welcoming the Indian delegation, said that It has come a long way since the First Pak–India Parliamentary Dialogue held on January 6-7, 2011 in Islamabad Since then 4 rounds; two in Islamabad and two in New Delhi, have been held successfully. He said that 2 Days dialogue will cover a range of subjects among other includes water issues, prisoners problem, Tragic Incidents along the Line of Control and Stalled Progress on economic cooperation especially Trade. He said that PILDAT feel honoured in facilitating the dialogue but it will be more befitting if the Parliamentary Friendship Groups could assume the ownership; PILDAT will continue to facilitate to the extent requires. He said that of course there are challenges but the Parliamentarians will be ably assisted to understand these to find solutions. He was of the view that Parliamentarians should act as independent watch dogs on executive. If the DGMOs of the two counties can pick up the phone and talk to each other, there should be a mechanism for the engagement of parliamentary committees.


A 13-member delegation of Indian MPs who will join their Pakistani counterparts at the 2-day Dialogue includes Rajya Sabha members Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar (INC); Mr. K.C. Tyagi (JD-U); Mr. D. P. Tripathy (NCP); Ms. Anu Aga (Ind.); Prof. S.P. Singh Baghel (BSP); Mr. Ram Kirpal Yadav (RJD); Mr. C.P. Narayanan (CPI); Mr. Baishnab Parida (BJD); Mr. Birendra Prasad Baishya (AGP); Mr. Mohammad Adeeb (Ind.); Dr. T.N. Seema (CPI-M); and Lok Sabha Members Mr. Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) and Mr. Kirti Azad (BJP).

The Indian delegation, alongside the Pakistan Presidium, was hosted by Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs, at a luncheon meeting.


Pakistani MPs who joined the Dialogue on Day 1 included Senate Members Senator Farhatullah Babar (PPPP, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Senator Dr. Jahangir Bader (PPPP, Punjab), Senator Heman Das (Balochistan, JUI-F), Senator M. Hamza (PML-N, Punjab), Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri (Balochistan, JUI-F), Senator Dr. Saeeda Iqbal (PPPP, Islamabad), Senator Nasreen Jalil (Sindh, MQM), Senator Afrasiab Khattak (ANP, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Senator Osman Saifullah Khan (PPPP, Islamabad); Eng. Hamid ul Haq, NA (NA-2, Peshawar-II, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PTI) and National Assembly members Eng. Ali Muhammad Khan, MNA (NA-10, Mardan-II, KP, PTI), Mr. Mujahid Ali Khan, MNA (NA-11, Mardan-III, KP, PTI), Mr. Usman Khan Tarrakai, MNA (NA-12, Swabi-I, KP, AJIP), Raja Aamer Zaman, MNA (NA-19,Haripur, KP, PTI), Mr. Sher Akbar Khan, MNA, (NA-28, Bunair, KP, JI), Mr. Salim Rehman, MNA (NA-30-Swat-II, KP, PTI), Sahibzada M. Yaqoob, MNA (NA-34, Lower Dir, KP, JI), Mr. Muhammad Talal Chaudhry, MNA (NA-76, Faisalabad-II, Punjab, PML-N), Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, MNA (NA-82, Faisalabad-VIII, Punjab, PML-N), Chaudhry Mehmood Bashir Virk, MNA (NA-97, Gujranwala-III, Punjab, PML-N), Syed Ashiq Hussain Bukhari, MNA (NA-153, Multan-VI, Punjab, PML-N), Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, MNA (NA-126 Lahore-IX, Punjab, PTI), Mr. Muhammad Khan Daha, MNA (NA-157, Khanewal-II, Punjab, PML-N), Mr. Ghous Bux Mahar, MNA (NA-203, Shikarpur-cum-Sukkur Sindh, PML-F), Mr. Mehboob Alam, MNA (NA-242, Karachi-IV, Sindh, MQM), Mr. Muzammil Qureshi, MNA (NA-253, Karachi-XV, Sindh, MQM), Ms. Nafeesa Inyat Ullah Khattak, MNA (NA-273, KP, PTI), Ms. Aisha Gulalai, MNA (NA-276, KP, PTI), Ms. Zeb Jaffar, MNA (NA-282, Punjab, PML-N), Ms. Arifa Khalid Pervez, MNA (NA-295, Punjab, PML-N), Ms. Romina Khursheed Alam (NA-303, Punjab, PML-N), Ms. Kishwer Zehra, MNA (NA-303, Sindh, MQM), Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, MNA (NA-334, Sindh, PML-N), Mr. Bhawan Das, MNA (NA-335, Sindh, PML-N), Mr. Ramesh Lal, MNA (NA-339, Non-Muslim-II, Sindh, PPPP), Mr. Lal Chand Malhi, MNA(NA-340, Sindh, PTI), Mr. Sanjay Parwani, MNA (NA-341, Sindh, MQM), and Ms. Aasiya Nasir, MNA (NA-342, Balochistan, JUI-F).


Dialogue series among Parliamentarians of Pakistan and India is aimed at facilitating a structured discussion among MPs from the two countries on issues of mutual interest and concern that impact the relationship between the two countries.