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Pakistan doesn't want war with India: Gilani

world Updated: Feb 06, 2012 14:54 IST
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Pakistan and India have fought four wars on the Kashmir issue but can't afford any more in "this 21st century", Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said while calling for resolving issues through dialogue, diplomacy, prudent policy and national consensus.

Gilani said with four wars already fought on Kashmir issue, the region still was a flashpoint. "But in this 21st century, we cannot afford wars", Associated Press of Pakistan quoted him as saying Sunday.

Pakistan and India have had armed conflicts in 1947-48, 1965, 1971 and 1999.

"We want to resolve the issues through dialogue, diplomacy, prudent policy and national consensus," the prime minister said.

Gilani said Sunday that Kashmir issue remained the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy.

"We are committed to continue with the moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris. The whole nation including all the political parties are united on the cause of Kashmir," Gilani said while addressing the Kashmir Convention held here.

The prime minister added that since Pakistan is a responsible country as well as a responsible nuclear power, it has to make responsible policies.

"We want to resolve the issues through dialogue, diplomacy, prudent policy and national consensus," he remarked.

Gilani said the country's policies should be made with national consensus and by the chosen representatives of masses and not by individuals.

He cited the example of Pakistan-China friendship and said the whole nation was united on it and wanted to take this friendship forward.

On Afghanistan, the prime minister said after the Nov 26, 2011 attack on Pakistani border posts, the whole nation under the democratic government stood united and solid and "we halted NATO supply line, got the Shamsi airbase vacated and boycotted the Bonn Conference".

The Shamsi airbase was used by the Americans to launch drone attacks while the Bonn conference was focussed on the future of Afghanistan.

"Gone are the days, when the foreign policy was made by individuals. Now, the policies would be made by the chosen representatives and through the parliament," he said.

The prime minister referred to his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Maldives and said the two sides agreed to discuss all the core issues including Kashmir.

Regarding Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India, Gilani said it was approved by the cabinet with a consensus decision. He clarified that MFN was not a special status as generally thought, rather it was non-discrimination in trade like with other 100 countries of the world.

The decision was meant to hold trade talks, but the government would never compromise on national interests, he said.

He also mentioned that the cross LoC (Line of Control) trade since 2008 had reached around Rs.15 billion.

"But the cross LoC trade does not mean that we will back out from the issue of Kashmir."