Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani has said his talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the cricket World Cup semi-final in Mohali involved all "core and outstanding" issues between the two countries, including the Kashmir problem.
"During my meeting with Dr Manmohan Singh, and at all our previous meetings, all core and outstanding issues were discussed. Without resolving the Kashmir issue, we cannot take things forward. We discussed all core and outstanding issues, including Kashmir," Gilani said, responding to queries on his live monthly TV show PM Online last night.
Referring to his meetings with Singh at Colombo in 2008, Sharm el-Sheikh in 2009 and Thimphu last year, he said it was in the Bhutanese capital that the two leaders agreed to resume the dialogue process at the level of the Foreign Secretaries and Foreign Ministers.
Gilani said he accepted Singh's invitation to watch the Pakistan-India World Cup semi-final in Mohali as he thought the meeting would provide a good opportunity for discussions with the Indian Prime Minister.
The two countries have to find solutions to their problems through dialogue, he said.
Asked about previous attempts at cricket diplomacy by Pakistan's former military rulers, Gilani said: "It will not be proper to compare the current democratic government in Pakistan with the regimes of Gen Zia-ul-Haq or Pervez Musharraf... There is democracy on both sides and both sides have made sacrifices for democracy."
Despite the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Gilani said, he and Singh agreed during their meeting in Thimphu to resume talks and not to let the dialogue process become hostage to such incidents as it would only benefit militants.
Gilani said the presence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the Mohali meeting was a "show of solidarity."
He described the recent meeting of the Home and Interior Secretaries of India and Pakistan as "extremely successful" and said the Commerce Secretaries of the two sides would meet soon in Islamabad.
This would be followed by more meetings to discuss issues in eight different sectors, he added.
Responding to a question about third party mediation between India and Pakistan, Gilani sidestepped the issue and said the two countries can and should resolve their problems through bilateral dialogue.
"We have to take ownership of our issues," he said.
Asked about the investigation into the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, Gilani said he had received an inquiry report that will be presented at the next meeting of the PPP's central executive committee in the presence of party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto.