December 2006 News

No territorial claims over Kashmir, reiterates Kasuri

13 December 2006
The Hindu
Nirupama Subramanian

Islamabad: Foreign Minister Khurshid M. Kasuri reiterated on Wednesday that Pakistan never had any territorial claims over Kashmir. The wars with India over the issue could not become the justification for such a claim, and it was the cumulative experience of years of conflict that had led to the search for a settlement. Talking to journalists at the Foreign Ministry here, he reiterated that Pakistan's 'principled position' on Kashmir rested solely on the United Nations Security Council resolutions. Under this, it was the Kashmiris who had to decide their future. Describing President Pervez Musharraf as 'a brave and courageous leader,' who had declared that he was prepared to show flexibility on Pakistan's position if India could match it, Mr. Kasuri said Pakistan would never move unilaterally. Asked how Pakistan could forgo its claim on Kashmir as this undermined the two- nation theory, he said: 'First of all, it is the Kashmiris who decide; let us be very clear. Our position is very principled. We do not have this acquisitive instinct. We live in the 21st century. We will not accept any solution that the Kashmiris reject. That is the bottom line. We are trying to create a situation, which is a win-win for all, for Pakistan, India and the Kashmiris. And we hope that in view of the experience of the three parties involved, they will go for a solution that will satisfy the aspiration of the Kashmiris. The purpose of this exercise is to create peace. Peace can only come if you have a solution acceptable to all.' When reminded that Pakistan and India had fought three wars over Kashmir, he said France and Germany had also fought bitter wars, but had resolved their differences by 'other means.' 'I don't understand. ... Yes, we have fought wars for 30 years, and I can add further, we have been lobbing shells across for 30 years along the Line of Control. We fought for 26 years in Siachen glacier, but should that be an end in itself? No I don't think so.' Mr. Kasuri said he could not understand what the fuss over General Musharraf's remarks was about as he had not said anything new to NDTV; he only repeated what he had said several times before. General Musharraf had said much more to A.G. Noorani, who interviewed him for Frontline magazine.


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