Resolution of Kashmir issue to boost ties: PM
6 August 2005
Islamabad: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that Pakistan and India need to resolve their disputes to enhance better relations. In an interview with the Khaleej Times the prime minister said that Pakistan-India relations had witnessed progress and there had been improvement in the economic relation, travel between the two countries and people to people contact. However, both the countries needed to accelerate efforts for developing better relations in all fields by first resolving their old disputes including Kashmir, he added. The prime minister said that the two countries had been engaged in the peace process, but historically their relations had been mired in conflict due to the Kashmir issue. “And now because of the composite dialogue, this process is moving forward and we believe that our relations will result in sustainable peace, once the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is resolved.” He said the true potential of Pakistan-India relations could be realized with trade and investment, but added that it would be possible when the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir was resolved About the proposed Pakistan- Iran-India gas pipeline, Mr Aziz said Pakistan’s high economic growth has increased its needs for energy. “We are exploring the import of gas from Qatar, Iran and Turkmenistan and plus the import of LNG.” On India-US relations, especially with respect to their new defence framework agreement, the prime minister said relations between the countries were not linked with relationship to a third country. “This new cooperation between India and the United States is for the supply of civilian reactors for energy generation. We also have a programme to produce about 8 per cent of all our total energy resources from nuclear power. We have several reactors working,” he said. Regarding Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, he said they were historic and covered a vast field including diplomacy and economic and shared interest. A strong, stable and vibrant Afghanistan was good for Pakistan and good for the world, Aziz said. He termed his recent visit to Afghanistan as very fruitful and said Pakistan was working with the government of President Hamid Karzai to improve security environment there. “We are cooperating in many fields of mutual interest.” About Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts, he said “All reports about his (Laden) whereabouts are speculative.” He termed the recent incidents of bombings in the UK as unfortunate and said “We condemn them as Pakistan is opposed to all forms of terrorism and I believe this is no solution as Islam is a religion of peace, moderation, faith and harmony and we believe in settling disputes through dialogue, discussion and amity.” He said that linking any incident in the UK to Pakistan was far-fetched because those who carried out the bombings lived in Britain for generations as was later proved. Replying to a question that whether the incidents would have any impact on foreign investment in Pakistan, Mr Aziz said that Pakistan offered improved security situation to attract foreign investment.