February 2005 News

Time now to resolve conflicts: Musharraf

15 February 2005
The Dawn

Islamabad: President Gen Pervez Musharraf said on Tuesday that the era of conflict management between Pakistan and India was over and now they had to strive for resolution of conflicts. He was briefing a four- member delegation of the Liberal Democrats party of the United Kingdom led by its President Simon Hughes, on the confidence- building measures and the composite dialogue being carried out with India. The president highlighted Pakistan's role in the fight against extremism and its efforts to bring a social transformation by eradicating poverty and illiteracy in the country. He emphasized that Pakistan was striving to achieve the Millennium Development Goals based on human resource development, rural and urban development and targeted intervention by providing relief to the poorest. He said the country needed UK's support on granting of GSP+ status by the European Union as that would greatly help in job creation and poverty alleviation. Mr Hughes evinced great interest in the Kashmir dispute and its early resolution in accordance with United Nations resolutions. He said the Liberal Democrats had strong commitment towards the Commonwealth and were happy to see Pakistan back in its fold. He offered his condolences on the loss of lives as a result of recent floods in Balochistan. Senate Chairman Mohammedmian Soomro was also present. Talking to newsmen later, the leader of the delegation welcomed the confidence-building measures between Pakistan and India and expressed concern over human rights violations in occupied Kashmir. 'Kashmiris also want to be part of the negotiations. It's no good for the two governments to discuss over the heads of Kashmiris,' Mr Hughes said. 'They want to express their wishes soon not in dim distant future,' he said. He said the proposal to start Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service was a 'significant step towards beginning of new relations'. 'Part of the normalization process is the freedom of movement between the Kashmiris from both sides of the Line of Control,' he said. The delegation visited refugee camps in Azad Kashmir On Monday. 'The refugees that we saw yesterday, many of them have been imprisoned in the occupied Kashmir where they had no human rights,' Mr Hughes said. He said the Liberal Democrats would take up the case of Kashmiris and ask for access to occupied Kashmir after the election in Britain. He said his party was willing to hold a conference of Kashmiris from both sides of the LoC in Pakistan or Britain. He praised the schemes initiated for the welfare of women in Pakistan. He said he had talked to the British Council about Pakistani teachers' training in the UK. MP Don Foster said 'We have good relationship with the United States and the European Union, which can be used for dialogue to help develop solutions to the problems that exist between India and Pakistan.'


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