September 2004 News

Kashmiris not opposed to Pak-India trade: AJK president

4 September 2004
News Network International

Islamabad: The President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant General (Retd) Sardar Mohammad Anwar Khan, on Saturday said Kashmiris were not opposed to expansion of trade and economic relations between Pakistan and India. Talking to IRNA here, he said that Kashmiris welcomed improvement in Pak-India relations in trade and economic as a result of on-going peace dialogue.   However, he was quick to add that the Kashmiris had concerns over their non-participation in the talks and slow tempo of the peace process, started in February.   The AJK president maintained that even if the talks produced results they would not be long lasting, taking into consideration the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiri people vis-a-vis settlement of the Kashmir issue. Pakistan and India have fought two of the three wars on Kashmir, a disputed piece of land since their independence in 1947.   The two countries' foreign secretaries started talks in New Delhi on Saturday while the foreign ministers would hold two-day talks from Sunday at the Indian capital. After the historic summit between President General Pervez Musharraf and the then prime minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee on January 6 this year, both countries decided to resume peace process to settle their bilateral disputes. In reply to a question, he said that Kashmiris favored construction of a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan. 'We wish building of more big economic projects to trigger greater economic activity in the region,' he said.   Sardar Anwar expressed dissatisfaction over the existing level of economic and trade relations between Iran and Pakistan, saying keeping in view the commonalties between the two brotherly neighboring states, there was a lot to be done in these two spheres.  


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