Pak Not For Internationalisation Of Kashmir Issue: Ex-diplomat
27 January 2009
The Indian Express
: Pakistan is not in favour of internationalisation of the Kashmir issue, a former senior diplomat of the country has said favouring a bilateral resolution. Riaz Mohammad Khan, former Pakistan foreign secretary and high commissioner to India, said the 'most serious' efforts of the two countries towards resolving the issue were derailed by the Mumbai terror attacks. Khan said Pakistan was not in favour of internationalisation of the Kashmir issue but insisted that it cannot be put on the back burner. Speaking at a meeting held at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Khan said the 'most serious' effort on Kashmir ever undertaken by India and Pakistan during the last three years had been derailed by the Mumbai terror attacks. During 2005-08 period Khan said the two countries had very intensive discussion on this issue. 'We were trying for a solution, which were acceptable to both sides and most important to the people of Kashmir,' he said without divulging further details. The Mumbai-terrorists attacks derailed the three and half years of serious efforts between the two countries to resolve the Kashmir dispute, Khan, who was the country's Foreign Secretary from 2005 to 2008 and also the country's Ambassador to China from 2005 to 2008, said. 'For quite some time now, Pakistan's own position as regard to its relationship with India has undergone a change,' Khan said during the course of his speech at a panel discussion on 'All-Weather Allies: Today's Pakistan-China Relationship'. 'On Kashmir for example, we are not looking for its internationalisation or international intervention on this issue, because we know India would not agree to that,' he said. 'Of course for propaganda purpose, it could be a very good thing to do,' he added. 'But we are quite clear that Indians, so far as their position is concerned they are not going to the United Nations or accept intervention from the United States or for that matter China,' Khan said. It is between India and Pakistan to resolve this issue, he argued. 'I hope it (peace talks) would be back very soon,' Khan later said. 'These two countries can't afford a conflict,' he observed. Khan, however, said the Kashmir issue can't be put on backburner. 'This is an argument which, we do not use with others. We discuss this with Indians that in the interest of the two countries, Pakistan and India, in the interest of South Asia, it has to be resolved,' he said.