Pak appreciates India gesture

United Nations: Pakistan, which has been elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term, has voiced "absolute confidence" that India voted in its favour and said it appreciates the gesture.

Islamabad, which was elected on Friday along with Morocco, Guatemala and Togo for a term beginning on January 1, 2012, had voted for India to be included in the 10-nation non-permanent club last year. New Delhi began its two-year tenure in January this year.

"I am very grateful to India`s permanent representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri and I would like to appreciate the reciprocation of India to Pakistan. This will help in getting a lot of things moving forward," Pakistan`s envoy to the UN Abdullah Hussain Haroon told PTI. "I have absolute confidence that India voted for us," he later told reporters.

The voting is done through secret ballot. Pakistan, which won 129 votes in the 193 member UN General Assembly, was vying for a seat against Kyrgyzstan in the Asia pacific category. There was no abstention.

Puri, who is currently in India, congratulated Haroon over the phone after the election result was declared. Haroon said Puri and he has a "good working relationship for quite some time now. You have seen that the usual tendencies have not erupted between us and that is a good factor. I would say that perhaps both of us have been beneficial in starting dialogue between the two countries and we have gone far and I believe we will go much further." He said that Pakistan will be working well with all of the other Council members, "especially India."

Referring to last year`s US Open tennis tournament when Rohan Bopanna of India and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan played on the same team, Haroon said "if Bopanna and Aisam can play the US open together, we can take that sort of position in politics as well."

India`s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Manjeev Singh Puri hugged Haroon outside the UN General Assembly hall, congratulating him on the win. "We warmly welcome and congratulate Pakistan`s election to the Security Council," Puri said.

The two neighbours have thrice before been together in the Council in 1968, 1977 and 1984.

The Indian deputy envoy to the UN said India and Pakistan have "common perception" on a host of global issues and India "looks forward to working with it through the year 2012." India said it has been together with Pakistan on the Council on previous occasions and has had "very good and constructive engagement."

Puri said Pakistan and India in the UN are "exactly on the same page" on a host of issues on the global agenda. "Almost in all areas of global issues, there is great convergence between India and Pakistan."

Kashmir, however, is a point of contention, with Pakistan raising the issue now and then at various UN meets.

Haroon said Pakistan`s win in the election on Friday "is a great day for the subcontinent.” “With India we have worked together for two years why should we not do it for a third. We have an opportunity to bring things together. The Indian ocean is important, Africa, Asia, we are going to work together and on the Indian subcontinent we have great opportunity as there are people here who are willing to talk and lead by example," Haroon said.

He said Pakistan has always had a commitment to security. "Once we stop looking at each other with jaundiced eyes, you understand a lot of each other`s problems."