July 2003 News

India, Pak Will Decide On Peace Plan For Kashmir: Jamali

16 July 2003
The Times of India

Islamabad: Dismissing the West Asia type peace-model for Kashmir, Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has said that India and Pakistan should draw their own road map and suggested a step-by-step approach for coming to the core issue. 'The Pakistani government and Indian government are supposed to draw up the roadmap ourselves. So I hope we can do it,' he said in an interview to a Japanese newspaper when asked if he favoured a 'road map' similar to US-backed West Asia process. 'India and Pakistan usually rely on the bilateral relations and talks although there is a third party, which is the Kashmiri people. That is the core issue and that could be the third factor or third party who is involved,' he said. In another interview, Jamali was quoted as saying that he supported the idea of step-by-step approach to rebuild confidence between the two countries 'as long as the dispute over Kashmir was not forgotten.' Observing that it was very difficult for Pakistan to give up the 'original principle, the Kashmir issue,' he, however, said, 'but we have to pave a way to come to the core issue.' Jamali added that he was ready to hold talks with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee whenever the Indian leader felt comfortable. 'Yes, any time. Whenever Mr Vajpayee feels comfortable. We have said throughout that dialogue is the best solution. Conditions are improving. The first instance was the appointment of the High Commissioners and the second was the opening of the borders to bus travel. Now we look for more co-operation,' he said in an interview to Yomiuri Shimbun. Asked what would be the next step in improvement of Indo-Pak relations, Jamali said, it would be resumption of flights between the two countries. 'We would prefer to resume those than sports connections,' he added. The Pakistani Prime Minister appreciated the outcome of the recent Saarc foreign secretaries meeting in Kathmandu in which India agreed to attend the next Saarc summit in Islamabad on January 4. 'I think it's very good progress; we appreciate India's approach and we're looking forward to that,' he said. Asked whether he was optimistic of a breakthrough at the summit, he said, 'We're trying our level best, and we hope and pray that we can make a breakthrough; I think the people of both countries need it.' He, however, added that people in the sub-continent were very impatient and expected things to happen quickly, but 'that is not possible' as 'in politics it is tightrope walking, especially in such conditions, on such issues, in the countries that are.' Jamali said that he was impressed by Vajpayee's commitment to peace. 'That is why I feel confident.'


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