‘Pakistan wanted India to stop Balochistan interference’By IANS
Thursday, December 9, 2010
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told a key US lawmaker that India would have to decrease its footprint in Afghanistan and stop alleged interfering in Balochistan in order to gain his country’s trust, according to the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
Details of the Feb 16 meeting between the Pakistani prime minister and chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator John Kerry, were leaked recently by the whistleblower website, Dawn News reported Thursday.
The cable, sent by then US ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson to the State Department in Washington, noted that the meeting focussed on the state of India-Pakistan relations.
Gilani told the US lawmaker that Pakistan was sincere in its efforts to improve relations with India and pointed to recent meetings between the foreign secretaries as evidence of its sincerity.
He noted that Pakistan and India had also resumed backchannel discussions. Gilani said that improving bilateral relations with India was in his country’s best interest as it would enable Pakistan to focus all of its attention on securing its western border.
He, however, noted that in order to gain public support for this process, the US had to “treat India and Pakistan equally”.
According to the cable, Gilani said “India will need to gain Pakistans trust and indicated that reducing the Indian footprint in Afghanistan and halting Indian support of militants in Balochistan would be steps in the right direction”.
Kerry noted that talks between the foreign secretaries had “enormous potential” and urged Pakistan not to allow pressure from the local media and the masses to “derail these efforts”.
While assuring Gilani that the effort would not be US-driven, Kerry indicated that the US government was open to the idea of serving as a mediator to help facilitate the resumption of the Pakistan-India Composite Dialogue.
Kerry suggested that Pakistan present the Indian government with its plan to tackle terrorism. He said that this would be a clear “confidence builder” that would make India more willing to move forward in talks about Kashmir and water disputes.
Prime Minister Gilani agreed to present Kerrys proposal to other Pakistani leaders. He was amenable to the idea of a rapprochement with India, but expressed concern that the public would not support the idea.
Senator Kerry said that in order to gain public support for this initiative, the government of Pakistan needed to clearly outline the long-term economic benefits of improved bilateral relations, such as an improvement in social development and increased investments and trade, to the Pakistani people.