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Sonia backs PM on Indo-Pak joint statement

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: July 30, 2009 12:08 IST
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Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who addressed party Members of Parliament on Thursday, backed Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the joint statement signed between Pakistani PM Yusuf Raza Gilani and him in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

PM Singh on Wednesday had defended mentioning of Balochistan in the statement issued at the end of the meeting.

"The PM has made a firm and unequivocal statement in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday on all major foreign issues, in particular, our relations with Pakistan. No one should be in any doubt on our party's position vis-a-vis Pakistan. It remains unchanged," Gandhi said in her speech.

She said that while the United Progressive Alliance government is all for resumption of dialogue with Pakistan, "but only after it has demonstrated its seriousness to bring perpetrators of Mumbai terror attacks to justice, and to prevent its territory from being used to launch terror attacks on any part of our country," she said while emphasising that Pakistan must restore confidence and build an environment conducive to any meaningful dialogue.

Gandhi also said that the MPs are duty-bound to use the fund allocations for various departments during the budget, which will lead to improve outcomes and make a tangible difference to the daily life of 'aam aadmi'. She claimed that while presenting the budget on July 6, the Union finance minister has provided an opportunity to redeem the pledges made to the people during the general elections by the party.

Gandhi also noted that since there were a large number of ministers from the party, hence it is expected of them that they would share their experience with their constituents.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi