April 2007 News

Kashmir Issue Is Key Dispute: Shaukat Aziz

3 April 2007

New Delhi: Terming Kashmir as a 'key dispute', Pakistan today said dispute resolution was important for a sustainable, expanded relationship between New Delhi and Islamabad. 'From the Pakistan perspective, Kashmir is a key dispute,' Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat told a press conference on the sidelines of the 14th SAARC Summit here. 'Dispute resolution was the cornerstone of a sustainable, expanded relationship between India and Pakistan,' Aziz said. 'Pakistan and India are engaged in a multifaceted peace process. Talks are on at every level, some public and some not so public. However, the focus should be less on the process and more on the end result,' he said. Aziz said bilateral relations were much more cordial than they were a few years back. India and Pakistan were committed to better ties and every meeting between them was part of the peace process, he said, and stressed that the trust deficit between the two countries should come down to zero. 'It will take time but we have to make efforts,' Aziz said, also noting that difference of opinion was not unhealthy. 'We have to bequeath to our next generation a safer South Asia and a stronger relationship between India and Pakistan so that both can benefit,' Aziz said India and Pakistan were committed to better ties and were engaged in a process. 'If there is a will, we are capable of moving ahead,' he said things will not change overnight. He hoped that the talks between the two countries will lead to an arrangement which will meet the aspiration of the Kashmiri people. Aziz said the two countries were discussing the proposals made by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. 'The proposals made by Musharraf are the basis of discussion process at the secretary-level, ministry-level and Heads of State-level talks. One must look at all these interactions as a part of the process.' 'I consider this as a positive development, moving step by step ... Its a bit of a journey,' he said. Aziz said besides Kashmir, the other issues on which the two countries were holding discussions were Siachen, Trade and Travel.


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