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August 24, 2012

Parliamentarians discuss ways to deepen ties

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AFP
August 24, 2012

NEW DELHI: Ways to deepen ties between the two neighbours with special focus on issues like visa regime, education and the progress in the dialogue process came up for discussion at the fourth round of India-Pakistan Parliamentarians Dialogue here Thursday.
A delegation of Pakistani MPs led by Deputy Chairman of Senate Sabir Ali Baloch met Indian lawmakers and discussed confidence building measures, the trust deficit between the two nations and the recent bilateral developments among other issues.
Earlier, the 4th round of India-Pakistan Parliamentarians Dialogue was formally inaugurated at the Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.
Senator Sabir Ali Baloch, Deputy Chairman, Senate of Pakistan and Mani Shankar Aiyar, Member, Rajya Sabha (Nominated, INC) initiated the proceedings of the 4th round of Parliamentarians Dialogue with their welcome remarks. Pakistan Co-Chairs Senator Muhammad Jehangir Badr, Leader of the House, Senate of Pakistan and Khurram Dastgir Khan, MNA, Chairman, National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce (NA-96, Gujranwala-II, Punjab, PML-N) also spoke on the occasion.
The MPs from both sides discussed the opportunities of deepening ties between the two countries specifically focussing on the issues of visa regime, role of media, education and local government. The MPs also discussed the developments in the official Pak-India Dialogue.
On the second day of the dialogue on August 24, the MPs will discuss opportunities of collaboration in the area of health while also developing recommendations on the future scope of the MPs Dialogue.
In his welcome remarks, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director PILDAT, thanked the organisers of 4th round of dialogue on the Indian side including Yashwant Sinha, former Minister of External Affairs and Mani Shankar Ayer, former union minister.
Terming the two leaders as two great towers of strength for the Parliamentarians Dialogue, he said that both leaders had been associated with the

organization of the Parliamentarians dialogues for the past 2 years.
He also thanked NK Singh, Member of the Rajiya Sabha for his tremendous support to the MPs Dialogue Process. He also thanked the support extended by the two Parliaments especially Dr Fehmida Mirza, Speaker National Assembly, Meira Kumar, Speaker Lok Sabha and Faisal Karim Kundi, MNA, Deputy Speaker.
The Pakistan delegation includes Senator Sabir Ali Baloch, Deputy Chairman, Senate; Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel, Chairman, Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan; Senator Dr Saeeda Iqbal, Chairperson, Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change; Nadeem Afzal Gondal, MNA, Chairman Public Accounts Committee and others.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani delegation called on Speaker of Lok Sabha Meira Kumar on the sidelines of the 4th round of India-Pakistan Parliamentarians Dialogue. Addressing the Pakistani delegation, Meira Kumar said it is a great fortune that India and Pakistan are neighbours that works in favour of each other.
The Lok Sabha speaker, while welcoming the delegation to the Parliament and in India, said that the Indian Parliament with 42 political parties represented in it represents the national consensus in India that the people of India want a stronger and peaceful relationship with the people of Pakistan.
She appreciated PILDAT initiative to bring MPs of both the countries to the dialogue table and said that Parliamentary engagement was committing the two countries to peacefully resolving all issues of mutual concern and interest.