December 2006 News

Kasuri Sees No Reversal In Kashmir Policy

24 December 2006
The Nation

Lahore: Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri has said there is no possibility of a sudden announcement of any solution to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. In an interview with a private TV channel on Sunday, Foreign Minister Kasuri said, 'Our Constitution too provides that any solution to this issue is to be made in accordance with the wishes of the people of the region, who are the actual party in this conflict.' He further said final decision on Kashmir would be taken by Parliament. He said there was no concrete step taken on Kashmir yet, only ideas were being floated for brainstorming on both sides of border. Responding to a question, the foreign minister stated that there were some hurdles in the way of settlement of Siachen and Sir Creek issues. He was referring to the on-going talks between Pakistan and India on these issues. In this context he pointed out that a political will was needed to reach final agreement on these two issues. About his visit to Iran and Iran, Pakistan, India gas pipeline, Khurshid Kasuri said he made it clear to the Iranian leadership that they needed to fix some bench mark as far as the matter of pricing was concerned. An international consultant had made his recommendations in this regard, but these needed to be taken into consideration by the three sides again, he elaborated. 'I conveyed to the Iranian President, as per the desire of President General Pervez Musharraf, that it is the prime time for the leadership of the either side to demonstrate a political will for an early realisation of this proposed project, which is also known as pipeline of peace,' he added. About Afghanistan, Kasuri said the situation in Afghanistan had been a source of concern for the two countries for long, adding that there was a civil war-like situation in Afghanistan and in such a situation Pakistan had both opponents and friends in Afghanistan. However, he said there might be some elements in Pakistan, who in their individual capacity, were supporting Taliban but none of them was part of policy making in Pakistan. He further said that during his recent visit to Iran, he told the Iranian leaders 'what we have been doing for the restoration of peace inside Afghanistan, which is our common neighbour'. 'I am glad that now Iranians better understand our position on this issue,' Kasuri remarked. He maintained that Islamabad had no role in the deterioration of law and order in Afghanistan, and that maintaining law and order there was the sole responsibility of the Afghan Army and NATO forces. It was unfortunate that some elements were blaming Pakistan for the deteriorating law and order in Afghanistan, he regretted. About meeting between Pakistani and Israeli officials, he said Pakistan had been in secret contact with Israel for decades. Dispelling impression that Pakistan changed its Afghan policy owing to pressure from the United states, the foreign minister made it clear that Islamabad did so after 9-11 in the best national interest. Anchor was emphasising that Pakistan changed Afghan policy after a call from US, but Kasuri maintained that the government had already decided to change its policy towards Taliban.


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