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Indo-Pak should stand by each other: Gilani

Lahore: Pakistan desires the "negotiated settlement" of all issues with India, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday said adding both countries should stand by each other and share happiness and grief.

"We want negotiated settlement of all issues with our neighbour India. Once peace is established in the region, South Asian will be able to get rid of poverty, disease, injustice and ignorance," Gilani said during a meeting with Sikh pilgrims.

Pakistan`s Commerce Ministry has "initiated the process of dialogue to grant Most Favoured Nation-status to India and the negotiations between the Commerce Secretaries of both countries are underway in India", he told the pilgrims who had come to Pakistan to join celebrations marking the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

Gilani remarked that he had "had a very successful meeting with Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh" on the sidelines of the recent SAARC Summit in the Maldives. "We agreed that negotiation was the way out to resolve all outstanding issues," he said.

Referring to Sikhs and Muslims as the "true heirs to the legacy and culture of Punjab", Gilani said the people of the two parts of Punjab share a "common mother tongue, common songs, common professions, common dresses and common festivals such as Vaisakhi".

He added: "As in our social structure of Punjab, neighbours are dearer (than) relatives. They stand by one another and share their happiness and grief. Both Pakistan and India need to play the same role. Such a role can guarantee peace in the region".

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