TNI Bureau:Last night, President Asif Ali Zardari hosted a special dinner in Islamabad for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish kumar on the occasion of Diwali, the festival of lights. At dinner, Mr Zardari appreciated Mr Kumar’s “Bihar model of development” with its emphasis on social sector development, particularly in education, healthcare and community development.
Mr Zardari further said that Pakistan wished to have “friendly, cooperative and good friendly relations” with India as there were tremendous opportunities for the two countries to enhance cooperation for their mutual benefit. “We want the peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes for lasting peace in the region,” Mr Zardari added.
Earlier, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday took attention of Pakistan’s political class with an easy narration of the `Bihar growth story’ and repeated underscoring of the shared history and heritage of the two neighbouring countries. Mr. Kumar dwelt at length on how his administration had addressed the law and order situation and good governance in Bihar.
Kumar also highlighted a scheme to provide bicycles to girls in villages to improve attendance in schools as a programme that could easily be replicated in countries like Pakistan. He also addressed how the Right to Information has been implemented in order to check the corruption in the state.
Stressing the importance of peace at every level for development, Kumar said, “No problem has been solved through war, dialogue is the only way out. The people must meet and talk. These talks must not be only between Delhi and Islamabad. There should also be a dialogue between Karachi and Patna and Amritsar and Lahore.”
He further said, “The cultural links between our two nations are abiding which is central to our history. If we shared a common past, it is wise to share a common future regardless of geographical boundaries.’’
Meanwhile, former cricketer Imran Khan, who heads the Tehreek-e-Insaaf, an opposition party, also appreciated Nitish Kumar, whose Janata Dal (United) rules Bihar in partnership with the BJP.
The Bihar Chief Minister began a week-long visit to Pakistan on Friday last. His trip has been backed by the Indian Prime Minister’s Office and the External Affairs Ministry as part of efforts to boost the bilateral peace process between the two nations.