No Pakistan visit in immediate future: PM

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{image-manmohan singh_05052008.jpg}New Delhi, May 5: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today indicated that he is unlikely to visit Pakistan in the immediate future, stating that he would wait for the new government led by Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani to ''settle down.'' ''Let him settled down. We wish them well. They have begun very well. Despite difficulties, they have shown great statesmanship'' in dealing with various issues, Dr Singh told reporters at Rashtrapati Bhavan after the Padma Awards function.

The Prime Minister was replying to a question on the timing of his visit to Pakistan as he had accepted an invitation from Islamabad long ago. Asked about the demands for the release of prisoners in both the countries, he said he was not aware of the demands, but on humanitarian grounds whatever could be done to reduce the sufferings of the prisoners should be done. To a question on the UPA-Left panel meeting tomorrow, Dr Singh said the government was ready to discuss ''whatever the issues our colleagues would like to raise.'' Asked about the spiralling prices of essential commodities despite government measures, the Prime Minister said he was confident that things would improve as the wheat production and procurement had touched an all time record. The output of rice, oil seeds and other crops was also good and the country was expected to produce 227 million tonnes of foodgrains.

Reporters also sought his response to the comments of US President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on the increasing consumption levels of the Indian middle class which, they said, had resulted in food shortages in their country.

''I don't have to comment'' on whatever was stated by others. ''I don't want to get into arguments with foreign dignitaries,'' he added.

Asked about the Opposition criticising him for maintaining a silence on the issue, he said the opposition parties were in the habit of raising allegations against him on everything.


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