January 2006 News

A lot of mistrust on both sides: ex-PoK President

28 January 2006
The Hindu
Staff Reporter

Muzaffarabad: The former President of Pakistan occupied Kashmir Sardar Abdul Qayoom has said that the Pakistan Government should have accepted the Indian Government's offer of relief teams, supplies and aerial support in quake devastated areas which are better accessible from the Line of Control. Immediately after the earthquake, India had offered help in badly affected places along the Line of Control in PoK, a proposal rejected by the Pakistan establishment. In an exclusive interview to The Hindu Mr. Qayoom said, 'The proposal should not have been rejected by the Pakistan establishment as it was a sincere move by the Indian side to provide relief to the quake affected areas. I do not think that there would have been some major security problem if Indian planes manned by Indian pilots had been allowed this side of the Line of Control.' The former President said even though five Line of Control points have been opened after the quake there is still a lot of mistrust between the two sides. Mr. Qayoom also categorically ruled out a proposal which seeks to divide the state of Jammu and Kashmir on religious grounds stating that the solution has to be accepted by all the groups in the state after a broad based dialogue. According to Mr.Qayoom the thought that the state of Jammu and Kashmir can remain independent was a mental luxury in the present day world and historical factors cum the present international environment do not allow this proposition. Federal solution Terming a federal solution as the key to start the process of engagement to resolve the Kashmir problem, Mr. Qayoom said, 'Self-rule is an interesting proposal and needs to be carefully looked at by both sides. Any solution of the Kashmir tangle obviously should take into consideration multi cultural, multi ethnic and multi religious character of the State. The State needs to evolve a federal structure where every section of society feels empowered and becomes a participant in the dialogue process.' On the question of militant camps in PoK responsible for vitiating the dialogue process, Mr. Qayoom said, '99 per cent of the militancy would be over when a sincere dialogue process starts. The structure of militancy cannot exist when the dialogue starts giving dividends.' Queried whether he is in favour of including the pro- India leadership in the dialogue process, Mr.Qayoom said, 'Leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad sahib and others have their own stature and this has to be respected. Obviously I am in favour of including every one in the dialogue process. One has to approach the issue with an open mind and flexibility.'


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