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Pak firm on its 'historic stand' on Kashmir
April 05, 2008 22:33 IST
Pakistan's new government on Saturday made it clear that there is no change in the country's position on Kashmir and it wants the issue to be resolved in accordance with its 'historic stand'.
The 'just solution of the Kashmir issue should be in line with the wishes of the people of Kashmir and Pakistan,' Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.
Pakistan has been insisting on third party mediation on the Kashmir issue, a demand outrightly rejected by India which wants it to be dealt bilaterally. But chairman of the Pakistan People's Party that leads the ruling coalition had said recently that the ties between the two countries should not be held hostage to the Kashmir issue, which should be left for future generations to resolve.
The country's Kashmir policy was formulated after due consideration and it is the government's desire to resolve this longstanding issue in accordance with 'our historic stand', the minister added.
Qureshi said External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has been invited to Pakistan and the dates for his visit are being determined.
Ahead of Mukherjee's trip, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon will also visit Pakistan to review the fourth round of the composite dialogue.
The two sides concluded talks on respective eight issues under the fourth round of composite dialogue in August last year. However, the Foreign Secretary-level talks to wrap up the fourth round of talks and launch the fifth round could not take place due to political turmoil in Pakistan.
The composite dialogue process with India should be resumed at the earliest as it is in the interest of both countries to resolve their problems through negotiations, Qureshi said.
"Keeping in view these conclusions (made during the fourth round), we will lay the basis for the next round of talks," Qureshi told media persons in Karachi during a visit to the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
The 'just solution of the Kashmir issue should be in line with the wishes of the people of Kashmir and Pakistan', he said.
Qureshi pointed out that as soon as the new government was formed in Islamabad, Mukherjee had contacted him on telephone and expressed good wishes.
Mukherjee also expressed the desire that talks between the two countries, which were stalled for some time due to 'some reasons should be resumed,' he said.
"We are neighbours and we should live with the spirit of accommodation and in an amicable way. This is in the interest of our two countries," Qureshi remarked, adding, "If we bring about improvements in our ties, this will benefit the people of our two countries."Pakistan's policy will be to promote good relations with all countries but in particular with 'big powers as well as our immediate neighbours', he said.