People Want Me To Solve Kashmir Quickly: Zardari

28 April 2008

Islamabad: Pakistan’s ruling party chief Asif Ali Zardari has said people wanted him to resolve the Kashmir issue, which had been pending for 60 years, “within days”. “Now, people want me to resolve the Kashmir issue within days - which has not been resolved for the last 60 years,” Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Zardari said in a late night interview on GEO TV Monday. In the lengthy interview telecast at midnight, Zardari said his government would not even consider releasing A.Q. Khan, who was put under house arrest by President Pervez Musharraf after he was accused of smuggling nuclear material out of Pakistan. “Neither did we arrest him nor are we going to release him,” asserted Zardari, who took over the party after his wife and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in December last year. “We have left this matter to President Musharraf and he has to take any decision in this regard.” Zardari, who was blamed for massive corruption during Bhutto’s two tenures as prime minister, said he was not interested in becoming a prime minister and Yousaf Raza Gillani would continue as prime minister for five years. “Musharraf as a civilian president has certain question marks. I would like to bring a civilian president,” he said while answering a question about impeachment proceedings against Musharraf. Zardari said he was more worried about “poverty hike in Pakistan” than involving himself in issues like who would be sent to the President’s House. He added, however, that he was in favour of empowering parliament and taking back the powers of dissolving parliament from the president. He said Americans had played a vital role in bringing democracy to Pakistan, and had put pressure on the president to shed his uniform. The PPP chief said judges could be reinstated in the next two weeks through a constitutional package. “Executive order is coming with the will of the people of Pakistan and it will be linked with the constitutional package”. “Pakistan needs political reconciliation and PPP believes in the science of national reconciliation. Restoration of judiciary is a part of our larger struggle,” he maintained. According to Zardari, the PPP had won the mandate from the people in the Feb 18 elections on its manifesto of ‘roti, kapda aur makaan’ (food, clothing and shelter) and not on the matter of judges’ restoration. But, he said, his party was committed to restoring the judiciary and reinstating the sacked judges. He reiterated that the UN must probe the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. “Insiders and foreign elements are involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, so a UN probe is must… I think. Postmortem of Benazir was conducted but the actual medical report has not been revealed.”