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Rediff.com  » News » Indian, Pakistani MPs for isolation
of fundamentalists

Indian, Pakistani MPs for isolation
of fundamentalists

May 09, 2003 10:08 IST

Pakistani and Indian parliamentarians on Friday agreed to isolate fundamentalist forces in both countries to remove obstacles in the path of normalisation of bilateral relations, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Somnath Chatterjee said.

"Both sides agreed that fundamentalist forces existed in the two countries and were hampering the process of establishment of peace," Chatterjee told PTI after a breakfast meeting he hosted at his Ashoka Road residence for the visiting Pakistani parliamentarian delegation, which arrived in Delhi on Thursday.

The CPI-M leader said the two sides also sought increased people-to-people contacts.

The delegation is on a goodwill visit at the invitation of the India-Pakistan Forum for Peace and Democracy as part of efforts to improve ties between the two South Asian neighbours.

"We have come here to meet as many sections of the Indian society as possible. We are with you in going the whole distance to further improve our friendly relations. I assure you that I will apprise our government of all the positive fallouts that may emerge from our talks," Pakistani delegation leader, Ishaq Khan Khakwani, told reporters.

"The kind of  welcome we have been extended by our Indian hosts, the love and affection showered on us has been overwhelming. That's why I say we are with you on every step for bettering our relations.

"We have come carrying a message of peace from Pakistan and we are represented by various parties in our Parliament. I am happy that our preliminary talks also has leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav and we hope to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also," he said.

Pakistani MP and former editor of Herald magazine Sherry Rehman said the prime aim of the delegation was to ease the 'tension' prevailing between the two countries.

He declined to comment on issues like cross border terrorism and said, "This forms a part of track-I diplomacy between India and Pakistan. We have on our agenda to ensure that tension between the two countries eases."

"Our efforts are envisaged at opening doors of confidence in the Parliaments of the two countries, minimising differences and moving forward as a block," she said.

The Pakistani MP also felt that there was no point in cribbing about the past and that efforts should be made by the two countries to move ahead.

The Pakistani delegation comprises senator Shuja-ul-Mulk, senator Dr Shahzad Waseem, M P Bhandara, Shakeela Rashid, Dr Syed Gulab Jamal, Saleem Jan Mazari, Sherry Rehman, Akhtar Kanju, Ali Shah, senator Sarwan Khan Kakkar and group leader Khakwani.

The Indian parliamentarians were represented by Chatterjee, Mulayam Singh Yadav, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, Shivraj Patil,  Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Hannan Mollah and Nilotpal Basu.

"I am in favour of more and more such meetings because people-to-people contact will contribute towards better understanding of each others' problems and improve our relations," Deve Gowda said.

In the evening, Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan would be hosting a dinner for them.

During their week-long unofficial visit to the country, the MPs would be visiting Ajmer, Agra, Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad before returning to Pakistan.

With PTI inputs

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi/PTI