Pakistan firm on its ‘historic stand’ on Kashmir issue: FM

5 April 2008
The Daily Times

Islamabad: The country’s Kashmir policy has been formulated after due consideration and it was, is, and will be the government’s desire that this longstanding issue be resolved in accordance with Pakistan’s historic stand, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday. Talking to reporters at the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, he said that the Kashmir dispute should be resolved according to the wishes of the people of Kashmir and Pakistan. Qureshi said that Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee had telephoned him soon after the formation of the new government, expressing a desire to resume talks between the two countries. Qureshi said the composite dialogue process should be resumed at the earliest. He said that while the Indian foreign minister had been invited to visit Pakistan, the Indian foreign secretary would visit first and that a consensus on the conclusion of the fourth round of talks would be reached. The next round of talks would be based on these conclusions, he said. He said the people of the two countries would prosper if bilateral relations improved. Foreign policy: He said that Pakistan’s foreign policy would be framed according to the country’s national interests. He said the government would improve Pakistan’s image abroad as well as strengthen ties with other Islamic countries. “Our policy will be to promote good relations with all the countries of the world, but in particular with the big powers as well as with our immediate neighbours,” the foreign minister said. He reiterated that Pakistan wanted peace and stability in the region and that it would honour its international commitments. Qureshi said that the law and order situation and the maintenance of peace would attract investment and allow Pakistan’s economy to flourish. Qureshi said that overseas Pakistanis had been facing problems after 9-11, but that most of these had been resolved. He said that Pakistanis living in the United States, European countries, and the Middle East were useful citizens of those countries and were contributing to their economies. “Our doctors, engineers and workers play a role in the development of these countries,” he said. Earlier, the minister laid a floral wreath at Quaid’s mausoleum, offered fateha and recorded his impressions in the visitors’ book.