No quick-fix solutions to Kashmir issue, says expert
9 December 2003
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri on Tuesday expressed the hope that the longstanding issue of Kashmir would be resolved in accordance with the wishes of the people of the valley. He was speaking at the inaugural session of a two-day international seminar on 'Conflict resolution and regional cooperation in South Asia', organized by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI). Mr Kasuri said Pakistan was always ready to resume dialogue with India to resolve the longstanding issue but its initiatives in this regard were never reciprocated by India. However, he appreciated the positive response of India to Pakistan's unilateral decision to have ceasefire on the Line of Control. Though both the countries have divergent views on the dispute, even then there was a need to find ways to move ahead, he said and hoped that India would positively respond to the peace initiatives taken by Pakistan. The four-step approach presented by President Pervez Musharraf, he added, was the best possible formula to break the impasse for the resolution of the issue. Two sessions were held in the morning. The theme of the first session, presided over by former minister of state for foreign affairs Inamul Haque, was 'Managing conflict between nuclear armed rivals in South Asia'. Major-Gen Dipankar Banerji (retired), director Institute of Peace and Conflict, New Delhi, gave the Indian perspective of conflict resolution, and suggested that the two countries should devote their resources and energies on resolving the issue so that they could achieve the goals of development and prosperity. Referring to regional conflicts in Sri Lanka and Nepal, he said recent initiatives for confidence-building measures between Pakistan and India had created a unique opportunity to settle the longstanding dispute of Kashmir. He said there were no quick-fix solutions to the issue. The resolution of the issue should be sought in long-term perspectives. Dr Imtiaz Bokhari, vice-president IPRI, speaking on nuclearization of South Asia, said it was a reality which policy-makers could not ignore. He said a nuclear war between Pakistan and India could not be ruled out because of the geographical proximity of the two countries. In the second session, which was presided over by Niaz A. Naik, former foreign secretary of Pakistan, Dr Karan R. Sahwny, director International Centre for Peace Initiatives, New Delhi, presented a number of hypotheses, some of which dealt with Pakistan-India relations, Kashmir-related confidence-building measures and peace process.