July 2004 News

LoC fencing may be a prelude to Kashmir division 

19 July 2004
The Nation

Lahore: The people of both India and Pakistan generally seem optimistic that the two countries will further improve their bilateral relations and steadily continue to move forward on the road to peace, the BBC, in its report, said on Monday. The people on both sides of the border are also hopeful of the ongoing peace process between Delhi and Islamabad, but some circles in Pakistan are giving an impression that the two countries have, probably, agreed to first make progress on trade, culture and tourism and when the turn comes they will try to settle the Kashmir like sensitive issue, the report said. Talking to BBC, former Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tanveer Ahmed Khan said Pakistan is not saying that the negotiations would be held on Kashmir when the turn comes, rather it has been insisting that the talks on this issue should continue along with other problems. Islamabad is also calling that the dialogue should immediately produce results and that these should be visible, he added. However, neither side is putting conditions for talks, he stated. The former diplomat said Pakistan is very much concerned over the fencing of the Line of Control (LoC) by India, the work on which has almost been completed. Some foreign observers believe that LoC fencing may be a prelude to division of Kashmir, he added. He further said Pakistan, however, has refused to accept LoC as a permanent border because it is not a solution to the problem, adding Islamabad is of the view that it is not a mere problem of territory, rather it is a problem of the Kashmiris who want their right to self- determination. That's why Pakistan, time and again, has been demanding that the Kashmiris should also be included in the composite talks, he said and added there is a possibility that they would first be included indirectly and then directly in the process of dialogue. Responding to a question, he said there is consistency in the composite dialogue and that it has gained momentum with India and Pakistani Foreign Secretaries holding a meeting in Islamabad. Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh has also arrived in the federal capital to attend SAARC Foreign Ministers conference and will also hold talks with the Pakistani leaders including President Gen Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Ch Shujat Hussain. Meanwhile, according to VOG, the political observers are not expecting any specific decision from the SAARC Foreign Ministers conference. The recent dialogue is being seen as an opportunity for building confidence between India and Pakistan, the broadcast said.


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