ISLAMABAD: Pakistan today said the Kashmir issue should be resolved peacefully and through “meaningful and substantive” talks with India and both sides should work on addressing the mistrust that exists and divides them.
“We believe that Kashmir issue should be resolved peacefully through talks for which we have always urged the Indian government to engage with us in meaningful and substantive talks. We also believe that Kashmiri leadership should be associated with that resolution,” Chaudhry said.
His remarks came a day after reported comments of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Kashmir issue created a furore.
A leading Pakistani daily reported that Sharif had contended the Kashmir issue is a flashpoint which “can trigger a fourth war” with India.
His office later denied that he had made any such statement.
However, the daily today said it was part of the statement issued by the Information Department in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Asked about Prime Minister’s statement that he would like to see “held-Kashmir free from the Indian occupation”, Chaudhry said, “Our position has been very clear right from the beginning. Pakistan has always extended moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people and this is nothing new.
“At the same time Prime Minister has also voiced his desire to have peaceful and good neighborly relations between India and Pakistan. I think resolution of Kashmir issue would actually help that broader objective.”
Speaking about the proposed wall along the LoC, he said there was an understanding that there should be no construction within 500 meters of the LoC which should be respected.
“Pakistan and India need to address all outstanding issues and try to address the mistrust that exists that divides the two countries.
“For its part Pakistan is committed to a meaningful dialogue and we believe that dialogue is the best way to resolve all outstanding issues and misunderstanding,” he said.
Replying to various queries on Kashmir, Chaudhry said, “Pakistan’s position has been well known. And it has been consistently voiced over the decades. And the present government has also with equal conviction voiced its support to the Kashmir cause. The basis for resolution of issue is very clear. The longstanding UN resolutions can provide a solution.”
He quickly added, “Having said that we also believe that present government would like to see an improved relation with India. The Prime Minister has sent positive signals. We believe that all outstanding issues between the two countries can be and should be resolved through bilateral dialogue. The improved relation between the two neighbors is imperative for the economic development of the two countries.”
He said that, “We have always believed that the Kashmiri leadership should be associated with the dialogue process to find a solution to the Kashmir issue. We have also expressed our concern on the human rights violations inside the Indian Occupied Kashmir and it includes these Kashmiri leadership.”
Speaking on the Siachen issue, he said Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz’s statement for withdrawal of Indian troops from the glacier was about the environmental aspects of the issue.
“Our position on Siachen issue is very well known. We believe that there should be disengagement of forces, demilitarization of the area. This issue should be resolved through talks.
“This issue can be resolved. We came very close to resolving it in 1989-1992. We hope that India and Pakistan will be able to engage in meaningful talks as part of composite dialogue to resolve this issue based on broad understanding that there should be disengagement of forces and demilitarization of the area.” –PTI