Kashmir roadmap finalised: Kasuri
24 April 2004
The Daily Times
Islamabad: Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri said on Saturday that India and Pakistan have finalised the roadmap on Kashmir and significant headway was expected on the thorny issue in talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries scheduled for July and August, according to a private television channel. Addressing a conference on 'Peace and Friendship in South Asia', the foreign minister said this time the two countries seemed serious about pursuing peace and negotiations and said, 'We believe that this process of peace will not halt anymore.'Mr Kasuri said a roadmap on Kashmir did exist and it was jointly prepared by Pakistan and India but its details could not be revealed yet. He predicted significant developments in this regard in the Indo- Pak parley at the foreign ministers' level in July and August. 'When you ask, do we have a roadmap? I say, yes, we have a roadmap and it is made up by us - Pakistani and Indian governments have jointly made it and we call it a composite process and this is the roadmap.' Asked about the opening of a visa office in Karachi by India, Mr Kasuri said that Pakistan had proposed in return the opening of a Pakistani visa office in Jinnah House in Mumbai.The foreign minister said the US had requested Pakistan to send troops to Iraq but the government would make a decision in light of the national interest, parliament's views, the role of the United Nations and the wishes of the people of Pakistan and Iraq. APP adds Mr Kasuri said the US was a sovereign country and had the right to make a request and had made similar appeals to five or six other countries. Mr Kasuri said Pakistan's troops were not being asked to fight in Iraq. Talking to journalists, Mr Kasuri said the elections process in India would not affect the Indo-Pak dialogue. He hoped the resumption of a composite dialogue between India and Pakistan would help resolve all issues including Kashmir. 'We in Pakistan are confident that the resumption of a composite dialogue will lead to peaceful settlement of all issues including Jammu and Kashmir to the satisfaction of both the sides while keeping in view the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.' The minister said, 'We wish to address all disputes sincerely with the objective of seeking honourable solutions based on mutual respect and accommodation. We look for a similar commitment and sincerity of purpose in others,' Mr Kasuri said. Mr Kasuri said the people of India and Pakistan wanted peace and cited the recent exchange of delegations between the two countries and the recently- concluded cricket series.The foreign minister said that such an approach could carry forward the process of dialogue, which would help politicians improve bilateral relations.The foreign minister said the 12th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in January this year was a turning point in the South Asian countries' efforts to promote peace and prosperity in the region.Mr Kasuri called South Asia a region of great promise and said SAARC must realise its potential. The minister said Afghanistan was gradually moving towards a new disposition and an enabling environment would require rapid reconstruction of its physical and social infrastructure. Mr Kasuri said a peaceful, stable and friendly Afghanistan was vital to Pakistan's national security, economic and political interests.