New Delhi, Aug 18 (ANI): Aiming to strengthen bilateral ties, parliamentary delegations from India and Pakistan met in New Delhi on Wednesday to bridge the trust deficit and boost people-to-people contact between the two Asian neighbours.
The delegations met at the second round of the India-Pakistan Parliamentarians' Dialogue, a two-day session in which parliamentarians from both nations are expected to discuss issues of bilateral concern.
The 27-member Pakistan delegation comprises 13 representatives from the Pakistan National Assembly and eight from the federal senate.
Deputy Chairman of Senate, Mir Jan Mohammad Khan Jamali, and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Faisal Karim Kundi, are co-leading the Pakistan delegation, while senator S.M Zafar, is the co-chair of the meeting.
Other members include senator Afarsaib Khattak, Jahangir Badar, Anusha Rehman, Laiq Mohammad Khan and former foreign minister of state, Nawabzada Malik Khan.
On the other hand, the Indian delegation included lawmakers Mani Shankar Aiyar, Naveen Jindal, Bijayant Jay Panda, Rajniti Prasad, Vijay Bahuguna and Naresh Gujral, while former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha co-chaired the meeting.
Addressing the delegates, Zafar said it was the duty of the participating parliamentarians to reduce the trust deficit between the two nations and bring the people closer.
"It is our responsibility to ensure that we pull down the dividing lines that separate us, dissolve the prejudices and build the bridges that can bring us closer to each other. It is our job to influence the public opinion and not to follow those chalked out by the government," said Zafar.
During the two-day dialogue, lawmakers from both sides will discuss thorny issues such as strengthening a liberal visa regime, militancy, the issue of Kashmir region and the water dispute.
Zafar further said that the motive of the initiative was to engage with each other at the public representatives' level so as to strengthen people-to-people contact for peace and stability in the restive region.
"We are no longer to see whether we can resume talks or not, but the theme of the dialogue today is, strengthening the people to people dialogue for better understanding between the two countries," said Zafar.
The first round of the Indian Pakistan Parliamentarians Dialogue was held in Islamabad in January early this year.
Meanwhile, Yashwant Sinha highlighted the crucial role played by the governments and civil servants of the two nations in enhancing ties, considering the rise of South Asia as a global force.
"I think our bilateral relationship, the emergence of south Asia as a force to reckon with in the international comity of nations, is too important a matter to be left only to the governments of the two countries," said Sinha.
"It is too important a matter to be left only, with all due respect, to the civil servants, to the diplomats of the two countries. We have, therefore, a very crucial role to play," he added. (ANI)