June 2001 News

Azad Kashmir PM terms Indian invitation CE's victory

3 June 2001
The Dawn

BIRMINGHAM: An Indian invitation to Pakistan, to hold talks on Jammu and Kashmir in Dehli this month is a major victory in diplomacy for the Chief Executive of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf. This was stated by Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir Barrister Sultan Mahmood Khan before a sizable gathering here on Saturday. Sultan Mahmood said the unflinching determination of the Kashmiri people in the Indian Occupied Kashmir and the principled stand taken by Gen Pervez Musharraf had forced India to abandon its naive and unrealistic efforts to sideline Pakistan from the Kashmir issue. India, which has repeatedly refused to hold talks with Pakistan had to take a U-turn and invite Pakistan to hold dialogue on this long-standing issue, he said. Ironically, India, during the last three months had been trying to lure Kashmiris into a dialogue, ignoring Pakistan, is now refusing to acknowledge the role of Kashmiris through All Parties Hurriyat Conference. Mr Sultan criticized the Indian government for not extending the ceasefire saying, "What kind of a peace initiative is this which starts with an end to ceasefire." "In fact India having failed to isolate Pakistan and with no positive response from the Kashmiri representatives, has been forced to eat their humble pie. We welcome talks, notwithstanding India's bad track record, but make it crystal clear that no fruitful talks can be held without the most important of the three parties with which Kashmiris are actively associated," he said. -APP


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