LoC Unacceptable As Permanent Border: Aziz
23 May 2005
The Hindustan Times
Islamabad: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said Pakistan is committed to sorting out the Kashmir issue with India through dialogue but will not accept the Line of Control (LoC) as the permanent border between the two countries. 'The longstanding Kashmir dispute is the root cause of South Asian tension and it has strained Indo-Pakistan relations,' Online news agency quoted him as saying while addressing the 36th session of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council in Islamabad on Monday. Azad Jammu and Kashmir is how Pakistan refers to Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK). 'We believe the Kashmir settlement is the key to durable peace in the region. But we will not agree to any proposal aimed at converting the LoC into a permanent border,' the Prime Minister said. According to him, the peace process promised a just and durable solution to the problem in line with the aspirations of Kashmiri people. 'This requires courage, flexibility, magnanimity, and leadership, a leadership that can resolve the dispute and build their people a better future of peace and progress,' Aziz said. The two sides, he said, should demonstrate the necessary political will to remove the root causes of their bilateral differences for a better and a more secure and prosperous future. Pakistan was committed to promoting peace and prosperity in South Asia and had demonstrated courage and flexibility since the two countries began composite dialogue process 15 months ago, the Prime Minister said. 'We need to seize the opportunity offered by the improved atmospherics to settle the Kashmir dispute in a manner that is acceptable to Pakistan, India and the Kashmiri people,' Aziz added. The Prime Minister said the dialogue process was irreversible and it was imperative to make it more sustained and result-oriented. 'We also understand our economic and commercial relations must move in tandem with progress on political disputes,' he said.