Gilani, Zardari assure APHC leaders of support on Kashmir

23 June 2008
The News International

Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday said his government was committed to supporting the just struggle of Kashmiris and desired a peaceful solution to the issue in keeping with the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. He said this while talking to an APHC delegation led by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq that called on him at the PM House. The delegation also called on PPP Co- chairman Asif Ali Zardari here at the Zardari House and offered condolences over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. 'We will continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiris in their just cause until a just and honourable settlement is reached as per the wishes of the Kashmiri people,' he said. The prime minister said Kashmir remained the core issue between India and Pakistan, adding Pakistan would never accept any solution unless the people of Kashmir accepted it. He said Pakistan was convinced that a settlement without the backing of the Kashmiri people would not be durable and sustainable. 'We look at the struggle by the Kashmiri people with great admiration and their untold sacrifices for a just solution to the Kashmir dispute will not go in vain,' he added. The prime minister said that during his recent meeting with President George W Bush, he took up the Kashmir issue and he (President Bush) agreed that the time had come to resolve it. He said the government had also discussed the Kashmir issue in detail with the Indian foreign minister during his visit to Pakistan and stressed the need to resolve it. During the meeting, Asif Zardari assured the visiting delegation that the Kashmir issue would be resolved as per aspirations of the people of Kashmir. According to Asif Ali Zardari, the PPP and the Hurriyat shared a 'bond of blood' and PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had said that the party's 'existence starts with the Kashmir issue.' The PPP will adhere to the vision of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto and, therefore, is bound to follow them. Later, Zardari talking to the media briefly after the meeting with the APHC delegation said the PPP-led government had given the APHC leaders assurance that whenever talks were held on Kashmir APHC's point of view would be given preference. 'The freedom movements of Kashmir and Pakistan are correlated,' he said. Mirwaiz Omar Farooq said India should abandon obduracy on the Kashmir issue. Demonstration of flexibility on the part of India was key to the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, he stressed. During the meeting, the APHC delegation condoled with Asif Ali Zardari the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and termed it a great loss not only for Pakistan but also for the people of Kashmir and the entire Muslim world. They offered Fateha for the departed soul.