Pak PM Welcomes India's Move To Reduce Troops In Kashmir
12 November 2004
The Indian Express
Islamabad: Pakistan Premier Shaukat Aziz today welcomed the statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reduce troops in Jammu and Kashmir, a move Islamabad hoped would have a 'salutary effect' in Kashmir and help further the peace process between the two countries. Reduction of troops by any country is welcome,' Aziz, who left for Cairo on way to Ramallah to attend the funeral of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, told reporters at the airport but said he had not seen Singh's statement. After Singh announced the plans to reduce troops in Kashmir, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesman Masood Khan reacted positively saying 'we welcome this wise decision by Indian Prime Minister. We understand that the step has been taken to help the ongoing peace process.' 'Pakistan has always maintained that the environment of confidence building evolving between India and Pakistan should also be taken to Jammu and Kashmir. 'We think the decision on the eve of the Eid ul Fitr will have a salutary impact in Kashmir. It is a step in the direction and can pave the way for respect of human rights,' he told PTI here. Later Khan told ARY TV that 'It's a good decision in the right direction and will help the peace process. It will augur well for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It will definitely make the atmosphere of the Valley conducive.' Khan reiterated Pakistan's stand that the people of Kashmir should also be included in the ongoing dialogue process between India and Pakistan for durable and just solution of the issue.