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Pakistan must prove its sincerity: J&K minister
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | April 29, 2003 13:33 IST
The Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Muzaffar Hussain Beig, on Tuesday welcomed Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali's offer of talks with India, but said Islamabad must prove that it is serious about peace.
He said he would like to see diplomatic links between India and Pakistan to be restored to the highest level.
"Thereafter, road and air links could be restored," he told rediff.com over phone from his residence in Srinagar. "I would like to see [Prime Minister Atal Bihari] Vajpayee keep his promise of opening the road between Sialkot and Jammu. If this route is opened most of the problems would get sorted out in the next two or three years. But before anything of this sort happens Pakistan must live up to its commitment to the international community and stop cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir."
He did not give much credence to former chief minister Farooq Abdullah's desire to lead a delegation of Indian members of Parliament to Pakistan.
"A lot of groundwork needs to be done before talks can take place. Efforts made at the highest level failed because no groundwork had been done at that time. I do not know what kind of goodwill Farooq Abdullah can generate when only a few months back he talked of bombarding Pakistan. I can understand Dr Karan Singh heading a delegation to Pakistan," he said.
He also said Pakistan must take some confidence building measures before hoping to restore sporting links with India.
"I am convinced that India should not resume cricketing links with Pakistan. Cricket matches are treated as a sort of war between India and Pakistan, and [the supporters of] whichever side wins celebrate with crackers and sweets. Cricket generates more hatred amongst the two nations," he said.
Militants had tried to kill Beig in Baramulla district of Kashmir on Saturday.
More reports from Jammu and Kashmir
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