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Manmohan takes up Hafiz Saeed's issue with Zardari

New Delhi, Sun, 08 Apr 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Apr 8 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, discussed the problem of terrorism with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari here on Sunday, and mentioned the activities of Hafiz Saeed in context of bringing the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to justice.

"The leaders discussed the problem of terrorism, which is a major issue by which the Indian people will judge progress in the bilateral relationship. PM told President Zardari that it was imperative to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice and prevent activities in against India from Pakistani soil," said Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai after the meeting.

"In this context PM also mentioned the activities of Hafiz Saeed. President Zardari said the matter needed to be discussed further between the two governments. It was noted that the Home Secretaries are due to meet shortly and they would be discussing this further," he added.

Lauding Zardari for accepting Dr. Manmohan Singh's invitation during his personal visit to Ajmer Sharif, Mathai said the two leaders spent about 40 minutes before lunch and they had a friendly and constructive conversation covering all aspects of India, Pakistan bilateral relations and regional and global issues of common interest.

Mathai further said both Indian Prime Minister and the visiting Pakistani President in their discussions noted that there had been steady progress in the dialogue process, which was restarted last year.

"Dialogue process will continue as planned in the months to come. PM expressed appreciation of the fact that Pakistan has moved forward on trade related issues. Both leaders felt that we should tap into the considerable potential of bilateral, economic and trade ties. The issue has been discussed by the Commerce Ministers and Commerce Secretaries and there is a road way forward, which has already been identified," he added.

Mathai said President Zardari mentioned the need for all issues including the issue of Sir Creek, Siachen and the issue of Kashmir to be addressed.

"Both felt that we need to move forward step-by-step. The two leaders also discussed developments in the region and they are determined to use the potential of regional cooperation for the economic development of people of both countries," he added.

Stating that it was evident from the conversation both countries consider the dialogue process and the improvement of bilateral relations as being in the mutual interest of the people of India and Pakistan, Mathai said : "The leaders also felt that priority needed to be given to issues of people-to-people contacts. In this context, they decided that a liberalized visa agreement, which has been worked out should be signed during the next meeting of the Home/Interior Secretaries."

Mathai also informed that Dr. Singh has accepted Zardari's invitation to visit Pakistan.

"President Zardari invited Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan. PM accepted the invitation with pleasure and said he would be happy to visit at an appropriate time," said Mathai.

"The diplomatic channels will be used to work out the mutually acceptable dates and the substantive preparations for that visit," he added.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari left for Ajmer to pay obeisance at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti after having fruitful and constructive talks with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the latter's official residence, 7 Race Course Road.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal is accompanying Zardari to Ajmer, and he will be offering a chadar at Moinuddin Chishti's dargah on behalf of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Both India and Pakistan expressed satisfaction with today's talks, and showed keen interest in finding practical, pragmatic solutions to all issues.

Zardari will be at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti for nearly an hour before flying back to Pakistan.

India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since their independence from British rule in 1947, have been slowly trying to repair relations and agreed to resume formal peace talks broken off in the wake of the Mumbai attack in 2008. (ANI)


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