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Pak must put its house in order for normal ties: PM

Our good intentions should not be mistaken for weaknesses.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 15, 2008, 02.41 AM IST
KHUNDRU: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday told anxious people of Jammu and Kashmir that there won���t be a war but added normalisation of relations with Pakistan would be possible only if Islamabad puts its house in order.

"Both nations should use mutual wisdom and co-operation to improve bilateral relations and we want to normalise our relations with Pakistan," Mr Singh told a Congress election rally, during his 20-minute speech, in the south Kashmir belt comprising three assembly seats where Congress has a chance. The meeting was well-attended.

"We want to solve all issues, including J&K, in a friendly and peaceful manner through dialogue," Mr Singh said.

However, this was impossible because of prevailing situation in Pakistan. ���Islamabad must keep its internal situation under control because there are people ready to mount bloody terrorist attacks against our country." The attacks on Mumbai clearly suggested this, he said.

"Borders cannot be changed, but unnecessary restrictions over them can be reduced and their significance brought down. Now, people come here from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to meet their relations and vice-versa. Trade routes have been opened and we are exploring possibility of opening up more routes," Mr Singh said.

"This dream cannot be pursued unless ties with Pakistan normalise. But relations cannot normalise unless Pakistan prevents use of its territory by certain elements in planning and launching terrorist attacks on India," the PM said.

India���s fight against terrorism would continue. "Our good intentions (for friendly relations) should not be mistaken for weakness."

Asking extremists to shun violence, Mr Singh said it only led to death and destruction. "Whatever problems you are facing��� social, economic or of bread and butter ��� the only way to solve them would be through dialogue and democratic means."

Mr Singh congratulated the people of the state for their overwhelming participation in elections. "You have proved that you have faith in democracy and this will lead to the formation of a new government within days."

"When voting, take into consideration the fact that Congress being the oldest and most-experienced political party understands your problems better. It takes everyone along and is capable of taking this beautiful state on the path of prosperity."

The Prime Minister said Congress understood security and development concerns and was ready to help but that would be possible only if voted to power in the state.

Mr Singh���s visit comes ahead of the sixth phase slated for Wednesday. The seven-phase polls to J&K���s 87-member assembly started on November 17. The last phase will be on December 24. All the phases have seen high voter participation. Counting of votes will be on December 28.
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