April 2004 News

Pak Ready To Be 'flexible' On J&K

9 April 2004
The Asian Age

Beijing: Contending that the Kashmir issue lay at the 'heart of tension' between the two countries, Pakistan on Friday said it was ready to hold talks with India with an open mind and flexibility so as to reach a 'just settlement' to the problem. 'Pakistan is ready to enter the dialogue process with an open mind and flexibility in search of a just settlement' to the Kashmir issue and other pending bilateral problems, Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri said addressing a select gathering of Chinese diplomats and academics from think tanks at the University of Beijing. 'The differences between Pakistan and India are not ideological. At the heart of tension between the two countries lies the Kashmir dispute, which is political in nature and can be resolved through recourse to internally recognised norms,' Mr Kasuri said on the last day of his maiden official visit to China. 'However, the dialogue process must be pursued with sincerity,' he said while cautioning that a solution cannot be achieved overnight. 'Pakistan is looking for a solution which is acceptable to both Pakistan and India and, importantly, the people of Kashmir who should also be associated with the process,' he said a day after Chinese leaders, including Premier Wen Jiabao, welcomed and supported the recent peace initiatives undertaken by New Delhi and Islamabad. Mr Kasuri said Pakistan was ready to discuss and make progress on other issues such as Siachen, Sir Creek, Wular barrage, trade and cultural exchanges. 'These and Kashmir as well as security and terrorism are all part of the agreed agenda for dialogue,' he said. He noted that one round of dialogue had taken place in February to discuss the format and agenda and the next round is scheduled for June to be followed by foreign minister- level talks in August. (PTI)


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