April 2003 News

Qayyum for flexibility on Kashmir issue

21 April 2003
The News International

ISLAMABAD:   Former prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Abdul Qayyum, while welcoming Indian Premier Vajpayee's friendship offer, has suggested the parties to show flexibility to bring peace and prosperity in the region.'The Pakistan government has already said that it was ready for talks, therefore, I think it is a welcome and appreciable step and we heartily welcome it,' Qayyum told VOA. Both the sides should move ahead with an open heart, he said, adding it is the need of the hour to beware of those powers, elements and extremists who do not want normalisation of Indo-Pak relations.They would definitely try to sabotage these efforts, he added. He said the attitude of extremists even in Pakistan is something different but there are also many problems for Vajpayee in his own country. If Vajpayee did not follow up the offer, it will lose the momentum. India should once again announce a cease-fire in occupied Kashmir, as a goodwill gesture, he said.'We are all convinced that all issues between India and Pakistan should be resolved through peaceful means, otherwise both the countries will continue their military preparation,' Qayyum said. It would not only be wastage of time and money but the tensions will also continue to escalate, he observed.On India's stance that congenial atmosphere cannot be created until Pakistan stops so-called cross border terrorism, the seasoned Kashmiri leader said, 'these are unrealistic terms'. He said firstly, there is no border in Kashmir. Secondly, as for terrorism, it is not terrorism but it is freedom movement.He said that in the same way Pakistan government asks India to immediately end its military occupation, which is against all UN resolutions and promises. Qayyum said the main Indian objection was on those people who according to them used to go there through Pakistani territory. Pakistan has taken all the measures it can and nothing like that is happening at present, he said. However, if Kashmiris do anything in retaliation to Indian atrocities and oppression, it is their right to do so, he maintained.He said the Pakistan government does not posses any magic wand to seal the Line of Control. It could not happen, rather it is impossible, he said. Putting such demands is the negation of good gesture, he said and added that the struggle in Kashmir is a legitimate freedom movement.


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