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Pak MPs' bid for third party role for Kashmiris rebuffed
June 04, 2007 19:24 IST
Pakistani parliamentarians' attempt to involve people of Jammu and Kashmir in finding a solution to the Kashmir issue was rebuffed on Monday at a conference of SAARC MPs and journalists, which said it was a bilateral matter between New Delhi and Islamabad.
The conclave, attended by 87 MPs from eight SAARC nations, also emphasised that no member country should give shelter or train terrorists, reflecting India's concern over cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
After two-days of deliberations on how relations among SAARC countries could be strengthened overcoming differences, the conclave suggested a slew of measures including effective implementation of SAFTA, increasing investment, enhancing energy cooperation and efficient connectivity.
Talking about the Indo-Pak ties, the 'Shimla Declaration' adopted at the conference organised by South Asia Free Media Association welcomed the ongoing peace process.
Pakistani MPs attempted to make the conference send out a call that people of Jammu and Kashmir be involved as a third party in Indo-Pak talks triggering a verbal duel between parliamentarians of the two countries yesterday.
The Indian MPs strongly opposed this move, saying Kashmir was a bilateral issue and at their insistence the reference was dropped from the Declaration.
A 'consensus' was reached that the additional proposal on involvement of people of Jammu and Kashmir be dropped and the issue be treated as a bilateral one between India and Pakistan, SAFMA Secretary General and Pakistani journalist Imtiaz Alam said at a joint press conference with SAFMA President K K Katyal.
A verbal duel between Indian and Pakistani MPs was witnessed at the meet on Sunday over the draft declaration, which suggested that people of Jammu and Kashmir be involved in resolving the issue.
While Indian MPs Dinesh Trivedi of Trinamool Congress and K Keshava Rao and Ram Prakash (both of Congress) opposed the reference to people of Jammu and Kashmir in the draft, Pakistani lawmaker Kashmala Tariq contested, saying the draft had been prepared after a committee discussed the issue.
While the two sides stuck to their respective views on the subject, Rehman said SAARC should have a 'neutral' opinion and a sub-committee was formed to review the draft.
The declaration appreciated the 'two-fold objectives' of the Indo-Pak peace process, covering 'exploration of all options for a final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir question in an atmosphere free of violence and terrorism and normalisation of bilateral relations.'
It said the two countries should put in place a 'comprehensive regime' of confidence building measures to ensure a tension-free sub-continent, implementing the joint statements of January 6, 2004, September 24, 2004 and April 18, 2005 and September 2006 Havana statement.
The conference asked all countries in the region to put in place a comprehensive sustainable dialogue mechanism for resolving all inter and intra state conflicts.