Pakistan To Consult Kashmiri Leaders Before Start Of Next Round Of Talks With India: FM

22 June 2008
Associated Press of Pakistan

Islamabad: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi has stated that Pakistan will consult with the leadership from both the sides of the Kashmir before starting next round of talks with India by end of this month. Talking to reporters after arriving here last night from Campala, Uganda, where he attended the OIC Foreign Ministers conference, the Foreign Minister said he had invited leaders of All Parties Hurriyat Conference to Pakistan to exchange views with them on the issue of Kashmir. APHC Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other Kashmiri leaders are arriving Pakistan today. The Minister will meet other Kashmiri leaders in New Delhi before the start of the talks with his Indian counterpart later this month. The Foreign Minister while appreciating the unity among the Kashmiri leadership under the banner of APHC, said it would be a good omen to promote the cause of the Kashmiris in a better and effective way. The Minister said the representatives of Kashmiris from both the sides of Line of Control attended the OIC Foreign Ministers conference in Campala. He said the Secretary General Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanogulu and other members of the OIC contact group on Kashmir appreciated and supported the dialogue process between Pakistan and India. The Minister said for the first time, Kashmir issue has been included in the Campala Declaration issued following the meeting of the Foreign Ministers and Pakistan’s efforts in this regard were highly appreciated. He said Pakistan also asked those countries having good relations with India, to put pressure on India for taking measures to end human rights violations in occupied Kashmir. Qureshi said the 57-member OIC group has a strong population of 1.4 billion and with unity and cooperation through intra trade between the members, it would be good for all the countries. He said food security was also discussed in the OIC meeting, especially due to increasing oil prices in the international market. The Minister said OIC has agreed to set up a task force to look into the matter of increasing trade between OIC members. Replying to a question on the statement of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to strike inside Pakistan, the Foreign Minister said, “The statement of President Karzai is uncalled for”. He said Pakistan has been showing positive and constructive attitude for the development, reconstruction and progress of Afghanistan, therefore, such statements are not suitable and appropriate. Qureshi said he went to Afghanistan with open heart and even participated the conference held in Paris for generating funds for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. He said Pakistan also announced to provide $ 20 million assistance to Afghanistan. “The blame game can not resolve the issue, and there is need for joint efforts to fight the menace of extremism and terrorism,” said Qureshi. The Foreign Minister said Pakistan wants peace, progress and stability in Afghanistan. About 2.4 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the Minister said Pakistan has asked the international community to extend more help and support for return of these refugees to live honourably in their own country. On the question of any attack on Iran, the Foreign Minister said Pakistan has clear policy on Iran’s nuclear issue that it should be resolved through dialogue. He said attack on Iran will be counter productive and destabilise the region. Commenting on the statement of US Presidential Candidate Obhama that Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan, the Foreign Ministers refuting the claim said Pakistan can act if credible information should be shared in this regard. He said such statements have become a routine matter but there is no reality in such reports. He said Pakistan is ready to take action against Osama bin Laden if credible information is shared. Regarding threats from Pakistan’s nuclear assets, the Foreign Minister said such threats are baseless and unfounded as Pakistan’s nuclear assets are in safe hands under a strict three tier security system of National Command and Control Authority.