Posted by: Administrator | 1 October, 2006

President’s Banquet Speech in New Delhi

3 May 2005, New Delhi

I would like to start by expressing my extreme gratitude to you Mr. Prime Minister for having invited me for the last one day international. I only hope and pray that the match is as interesting as the third one day international irrespective of the result. Having said that I would also like to express gratitude on behalf of my wife and my entire delegation for the warmth, for the hospitality and for the many courtesies being extended to us since the time we crossed the border and we landed at Jay Pur. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my very deep gratitude to you Mr. Prime Minister and to you begum Sahiba for having invited my mother, brother and my son to your house and hosted a dinner for them. This was most gracious of you and one would always remember this gesture. I know my mother and brother and my son will always remember this very warm gesture from your side. Thank you very much for it.

Let me say Mr. Prime Minister we started very well today by going to a very sacred place to Ajmair Sharif to Dergah of Hazrat Moeen-u- Deen Chisti and for praying there. I prayed for peace, amity and harmony between our two countries. I prayed for the prosperity and for the well being of the people of Pakistan and India. I hope and pray now that our prayers are answered. Mr. Prime Minister I bring a message of peace and amity and a message of harmony from the people of Pakistan. May I look back to my last visit four years back when I came we had this Agra Summit and I look at today. I think the environment is 180 degrees or diametrically opposite. While then I came in a situation of tension and in a situation of acrimony.

Now I came in an environment of harmony, cordiality, peace and an environment which I think historically Pakistan and India never seen the time before. I personally feel people to people contact have been going on over this last year or two have generated such a momentum of their own that I think people’s wishes, desires, and aspirations have over taken the leaders and govt. Therefore I think the process it appears irreversible because it is the people who desire this process to go on. Therefore as leaders, you and I, who you have very correctly said hold these positions incidentally but we are very much in charge. We owe to the nation and to the people of both the countries to cease this moment and heed to the voice of the people of the two countries. Failure is no more an option.

Mr. Prime Minister and you have said there that “Failure is no more an option”. We have to confront disputes and we have to develop confidence in each other. We have to kill our suspicions and leave them behind with courage and flexibility the kind of which we showed in initiating the bus service between Srinagar-Muzaffarabad. I keep telling every one, you and I Mr. both and our govts, showed the courage and the flexibility to arrive at concluding an agreement on bus service and irrespective of whatever comes in the way. We have showed determination to go forward with it. When talking of environment one could not have ever thought some time back that Pakistan and India both would have a similar stand on the issue of terrorist act against the bus service that took place. But as I said that we showed determination, courage and that is the determination and courage we need to take forward to other than the cricket match that you have been so gracious to invite me. I certainly look forward to more important issues of developing more confidence between our two countries and addressing issues and disputes, all issues and all disputes.

To my mind, in this 21st century the period of conflict management is over. I think we have entered an era of conflict resolution putting conflict and disputes. Rushing them under a carpet is no more an answer because I think they always come out of the carpet and bedevil relations. We have tried between ourselves in the past when we reached an agreement that Tashkent declaration, The Simla Agreement and Lahore declaration all these were intended”.

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