UK MP Seeks Pakistani, Indian Diasporas' Support For Peace Moves On Kashmir
15 December 2006
Associated Press of Pakistan
London: A British Member of Parliament has urged support by the UK-based Pakistani and Indian communities on the peace process in Kashmir, saying that the use of military was not an answer to the issue. MP Mike Gapes who is the Chairman of the powerful House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee told an ethnic daily in an interview on Friday that Indian and Pakistani Diasporas must support peace efforts on Kashmir to help bring about a lasting solution to the 60- year-old issue. Speaking about his recent visit to India and Pakistan along with 13 other members of the Parliament, the Labour Party MP for Ilford South said the visit was meant to observe overall scenario specially the political situation in the two countries as well as acquiring more knowledge about strategic relations, economic development and conflicts. The delegation during its visit to Pakistan met President Pervez Musharraf, Chairman Foreign Affairs Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Foreign Minister Khursheed Mahmood Kasuri, Tourism Minister Nilofar Bakhtiar, Senator Maulana Samiul Haq, Prof Khursheed Ahmed, Nisar A Memon and other senators of different political parties. 'It was a cross party meeting and the results of this conversation were very fruitful and informative. We discussed many issues, including Kashmir, Afghanistan, war on terror and others.' In India, the delegation called on Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister Chitambaram, Defence Minister A.K.Anthony and members of the Indian parliament. Gapes praised economic development in Pakistan and said this would ultimately lead to the elimination of poverty from the country. Urging Pakistani and Indian leaderships to resolve their issues peacefully, he said military mean is not an answer to a conflict. 'From our experience in Northern Ireland we learnt that dialogue is a way forward. We should talk and think imaginatively to resolve a conflict. It was very heartening to see that relations between Pakistan and India are improving. Situation is not as it was some years ago. Now people are talking about the issues instead of indulging in rhetoric. This is a very good sign. 'There is going to be a meeting between President Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. So, I am upbeat about the situation and I think that by normalising relations the two countries could make much economic development and could do a lot. I have also felt that Indian and Pakistani leaderships are very serious about resolving the issues. 'There was a time when there used to be strict border check in European countries. This is no more a case here. This could happen in South Asia as well. Wagah border could be converted into a trading point,' he told the daily.