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Pak, India can’t afford war: Gilani

world Updated: Jan 02, 2011 23:11 IST
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Pakistan and India cannot afford a war, Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said, stressing that dialogue is the only way to resolve outstanding issues between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

Responding to a question on the Pakistan-India relationship during his maiden appearance in a live television show, the prime minister said dialogue is the only way forward because both the countries cannot afford a war.

The prime minister took calls on a range of issues from the people during the show, which was jointly hosted by PTV and Dunya TV Saturday night, APP reported.

Gilani acknowledged India’s commitment that the bilateral talks cannot be made hostage to the 26/11 Mumbai attack. However, he accused India of not being ready to make “any compromise with Pakistan”.

“There is a lot of pressure from the public and opposition on (Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) but I believe that dialogue is the only answer. That's the only way forward because we can’t afford wars. We must have a dialogue and that will happen," he said.

“Although Manmohan Singh agreed in several meetings with me that bilateral talks should not be made hostage to the (Mumbai attack) tragedy, the Indian rulers seem to be under political pressure at home not to make any compromise with Pakistan,” Dawn quoted Gilani as saying during the show.

The 50-minute programme covered a range of topics on domestic and international issues.

The prime minister said his government will launch a “jehad” against corruption in the country 2011 by adopting strong legislative measures.

“It is our resolve for the new year, that we will launch jehad against corruption. I have talked to Mian Sahib (opposition PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif) so that we can adopt the accountability bill with consensus. And it will be done in a way that nobody can raise a finger against it,” Gilani said.

Taking a swipe at those criticising the government for allowing US drone strikes in Pakistani territory, Gilani said: “We are trying to convince Washington that these strikes will eventually prove counter-productive.”