MULTAN

Former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani has said that both Pakistan and India are nuclear powers and cordial relations between them are imperative for regional peace.

Talking to the journalists here on Saturday, he made it clear that the Pak-India dialogue could not make any progress until Kashmir issue was resolved. He said that Kashmir issue stood at the top of his priority when he met with Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. “Our agenda during our first meeting included settlement of Kashmir issue, end to terrorism, Siachin and stopping Indian intervention in Balochistan,” he added. He said that the joint declaration after the meeting also carried the same points while the next meeting in Maldives was also held on the same points. He said that Pakistan enjoyed friendly ties with India, Afghanistan, Iran, China and Central Asian states during his era. He suggested to both India and Pakistan to feel their responsibilities and adopt measures for resolving problems being faced by the poor masses.

He pointed out that elimination of terrorism was the most important issue of this time and Pakistan played the role of front line state in war against terror. To a query on role of army, he said that the same question was raised when he was going to meet Manmohan. “And I had said on that occasion that all including army and political parties are on the same page,” he added.

When the journalists drew his attention towards quick decline of PPP and rise of the PTI, he strongly dispelled the impression that the PPP was heading towards its end, saying political parties always faced ups and downs but no one could eliminate PPP. He told the journalists that he had voluntarily resigned from his party office of vice chairman to give party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari opportunity to form his own team. “Now it’s party’s discretion to make decision on our resignations,” he added. He said that those who held Wattoo responsible for cracks in PPP Punjab tried to create a pretext. Answering another question, he said that the party needed to launch membership drive and reorganize chapters at district, tehsil and city levels.

Referring to operation Zarb-e-Azb, he said that the army was busy in operation and its jawans, officers and civilians rendered tremendous sacrifices. He said that consensus among all political parties existed on national action plan and Chief Minister Sindh should get the action plan implemented in letter and spirit. He said that the party had issued clarification that Ayan Ali was not wife of Asif Ali Zardari. Answering a question on necklace of Turkish first lady, he said that everything would get clear when inquiry report on this issue would be made public.