PM to Pak: Begin talks with people of PoK, Northern Areas
24 March 2006
The Pakistan Tribune
Amritsar: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today sent out a veiled message to Islamabad to provide a say in governance to residents of Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Northern Areas as he said the two countries should 'begin a dialogue' with the people of the territories under their control, PTI reports Friday. He also advocated a 'step-by-step' approach to resolve the J and K issue given the 'inherent difficulties involved in finding practical solutions' and talked of rendering the borders 'just the lines on the map'. 'I suggest that both sides (India and Pakistan) should begin a dialogue with the people in their areas of control (of J and K) to improve the quality of governance so as to give the people on both sides a greater chance of leading a life of dignity and self- respect,' Singh said here while launching the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service. The Prime Minister's statement is virtually a rejoinder to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's suggestion for 'self- governance' and dialogue with people on this side of Jammu and Kashmir. India has maintained that people of the state on this side of the Line of Control (LoC) were enjoying self-governance through their participation in regular polls, in contrast to parts of the state under Pakistan's occupation.