New Delhi: A Parliamentary delegation from Pakistan today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed ways to remove impediments in improving bilateral relations.

The delegation, led by Chairman of Pakistan's Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, also felt that Parliamentary diplomacy would be "more beneficial" in improving ties between the two nations as members of Parliament represent the aspirations of the people.

"We had a very good meeting. We discussed bilateral issues It is a positive thing that the two countries are talking so that relations could improve," Bokhari told PTI fter a 45-minute meeting with the Prime Minister.

Besides the Prime Minister, the delegation, which is here at the invitation of Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, also met External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley and President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations Karan Singh.

"We discussed the areas in which there are impediments which should be resolved," he said.

Replying to a question, Bokhari said parliamentary diplomacy would be more beneficial because MPs were elected by the people and represent their aspirations and create better atmosphere through engagement.

"It is a misconception. Elected representatives are answerable to the people," he shot back when asked about a view that India felt it was easier to deal with authoritarian leaders in Pakistan.

Asked about the proceedings of Indian Parliament witnessed by the delegation yesterday, Bokhari said "there may be differences but issues are raised. That is the beauty of democracy."

During his discussions with the Indian leadership, Bokhari stressed on the need for more frequent exchanges at Parliamentary levels to bring people of the two sides more closer and deepen the bond of friendship between Pakistan and India.

He said Parliamentarians have to play a crucial role to remove the misperceptions and work jointly to resolve issues through dialogue.

With Khurshid, Bokhari discussed matters of mutual interest and underscored Pakistan's belief in dialogue.

During the meeting with Bokhari, the Lok Sabha Speaker observed that peace and stability were two key pre-requisites that the two countries need to emphasize for the overall welfare of their peoples.

"The relationship between India and Pakistan go well together historically and culturally. The peoples of the two countries have a strong desire to normalize and strengthen mutual ties and to march ahead on the path of peace and prosperity," Kumar said.

She said positive developments like efforts to simplify the visa regime between the two countries have given a new momentum to the bilateral relationship.

Welcoming the delegation, Ansari said his visit would further strengthen relations between the two parliaments and the countries.

He said that besides the official dialogue, the two countries are now engaged in numerous Track-II initiatives between the civil society.


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