July 2006 News

Vested interests to blame: PoK Prime Minister

25 July 2006
The Hindu
Nirupama Subramanian

Islamabad: Prime Minister of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan has invited the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and his Cabinet to visit PoK. Describing the stalling of the India-Pakistan talks as a 'disappointment,' he said vested interests were against the peace process. 'Whenever there is some positive development in the region vis--vis India-Pakistan relations, some incident takes place and Indian authorities without any hesitation blame Pakistan for it,' he said on a Pakistan Television programme. 'The Indian leadership may have its domestic compulsions to behave in this manner but overall the attitude is unrealistic,' said Mr. Khan, who took office on Monday following the re-election of his party in the recent elections. President Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan Government and the Kashmiri leadership on both sides of the Line of Control were 'very sincere' about carrying the dialogue process forward, Mr. Khan said. Despite criticism, the Pakistani leadership had taken bold steps, and the Indian leaders should not only acknowledge but also reciprocate them, because an 'amicable solution' of the Kashmir dispute was the only guarantee for progress and prosperity in the region. Speaking in Muzaffarabad soon after taking office, he issued an open invitation to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to travel to PoK as a 'Kashmiri citizen,' The Dawn reported. 'Regardless of the legitimacy of the elections on the other side, I wish Indian-held Kashmir Chief Minister and his Cabinet members travel to this side as Kashmiri citizens,' he said, adding that he too wanted to visit the other side. Mr. Khan assured his support to the efforts of Gen. Musharraf and the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. He was also appreciative of the bus service between the two sides of Kashmir, and wanted its frequency increased.


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