Kashmir Resolution Crucial To S Asia Stability: Pak General30 June 2011
The Indian Express
Islamabad: South Asia is likely to remain unstable as long as the Kashmir issue remains unresolved and Pakistan must continue its efforts to find a “just” solution to it, a top Pakistani general has said. “As long as the Kashmir issue remains unresolved, this region is likely to remain unstable,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne said. “We must therefore continue to find ways and means to find a just solution of the Kashmir dispute as it is only fair to all the people who dwell in this region and the world at large,” he said while addressing the convocation ceremony for courses at the National Defence University in Islamabad on Wednesday. The general's comments came days after the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan held discussions on the Kashmir issue as part of two-day talks in Islamabad. Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said the “shadow of the gun and extremist violence” must be done away with as a complex issue like Kashmir can only be discussed in an atmosphere free of violence. The two countries agreed to continue discussions on Kashmir in order to find a peaceful solution by “narrowing divergences and building convergences', said a joint statement issued after the talks. Wynne, a four-star general who is the army's second- highest ranking officer after army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said Pakistan may have to “adjust” its policies due to the changing regional scenario. “Recent changes announced in our neighbourhood have geo-strategic implications,” he said in an apparent reference to US plans to begin pulling its troops out of Afghanistan from next month. “We have to first accurately analyse this coming paradigm and thereafter, if required, adjust our policies to meet the likely challenges. “Self reliance and pre-eminence of national interests should be our guiding principles,” he said. Wynne further said Pakistan is committed to combating terrorism. “As you know, we are combating wholeheartedly the menace of extremism and terrorism prevailing in our society. The people and the armed forces of Pakistan have taken up this challenge and our soldiers as well as innocent civilians are sacrificing their lives for this cause,” he said.