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'Big brother India must give, not take'
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | May 09, 2003 20:39 IST
Ishaq Khan Khakwani, who is leading a group of Pakistani parliamentarians on a visit to India, on Friday admitted that there had been a spillover of Al Qaeda terrorists from Afghanistan into Pakistan.
Seeking to describe the violence in Kashmir as an indigenous struggle for independence, Khakwani dismissed Indian government's charge that the Pakistani army arms and infiltrates terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir.
"How can Pakistan fight terrorists when India has failed to contain violence in Jammu and Kashmir despite the fact that it has a large presence of its army in the state?" he asked.
Khakwani praised Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for holding out a hand of friendship to Pakistan.
"I see there is a change of heart. The Indian prime minister made a courageous declaration during his visit to Jammu and Kashmir. Our Prime Minister Jamali has responded to it in good measure," he said.
Khakwani said he and others in his group were overwhelmed by the kind of response they have got from the Indian people, the media and the politicians. "We have met former prime ministers, former chief ministers and members of Parliament within twenty four hours of our arrival in India. Our visit to Golden Temple in Amritsar and the hospitality that we have got is simply tremendous," he said.
He described the delegation's visit as a part of Track-II diplomacy, which according to him can pave way for summit-level talks between India and Pakistan.
Asked if Shimla agreement could be good reference point to begin a fresh dialogue between the two countries, he said that the two nations had wasted many opportunities in the past to usher in lasting peace in the region.
"No solution can be found [to the Kashmir tangle] unless India, as a big brother, gives rather than takes. Vajpayee has the stability and the ability to carry the people with him. It is he who can sort out the Kashmir problem for once and for all," Khakwani said.
More reports from Jammu and Kashmir
Indo-Pak Peace Talks: The Complete Coverage