September 2004 News

Kashmir Is Complex, Not Intractable: Kasuri

10 September 2004
The Times of India

New Delhi: Observing that high-level mechanisms were available to resolve the 'complex' Kashmir issue, Pakistan on Thursday said that focussed efforts were needed for its settlement. 'High level mechanisms are available to resolve this issue. What we need is vision and statesmanship. We are moving in the right direction. But we have to make focussed efforts to resolve this issue,' Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan told state-run PTV while commenting on the just-concluded talks between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries. He said External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh and Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri discussed the Kashmir issue which 'is a complex issue' but not 'intractable.' 'I think we can resolve this issue through political intercession and strong political will. As we go along we see the hype or despondency. But the middle course of persistence is better. Pakistan is steadfast in pursuing this issue and persuade India to associate Kashmiris in the talks,' he said, adding the primary objective is to resolve the Kashmir issue. About the joint statement issued at the end of the talks between the Foreign Ministers, Khan said it was 'a very significant statement.... It completes a cycle which started in January 2004.' He said the joint statement specified a way forward and expressed confidence that the two countries, through this engagement, would resolve all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir. Significantly, Pakistan government held the meeting of its Parliamentary committee on Kashmir yesterday around the same time when the joint statement was released. The Committee comprising members of Parliament held the meeting along with the leaders of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The PoK leaders including its President Gen (Retd) Anwar Khan and Prime Minister Sikander Hayat urged Pakistan not to abandon its stand on Kashmir, saying a change in the stand would not only be 'harmful' for the people of Kashmir, but would also damage Pakistan. Much on the expected lines the militants groups, however, reacted adversely to the outcome of the talks. In his reaction, Syed Salahuddin, head of Pakistan-based militant group Hizbul Mujahideen described the outcome of the dialogue as 'highly disappointing and unsuccessful'. 'The people of Kashmir and the Mujahideen were already without hopes that these talks would reach any conclusion to pave the way for the just settlement of the Kashmir issue,' Salahuddin, who is also the head of a conglomerate of militant groups called United Jehad Council said in a statement. He also asked Pakistan to make the process of talks conditional to meaningful discussion on Kashmir. Salahuddin claimed that India erected fence along the Line of Control with the tacit approval from Pakistan and took advantage of the confidence-building measures by Islamabad to normalise relations with Afghanistan.


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