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India is big, should make big concessions: Jamali

August 04, 2003 11:05 IST

Describing Kashmir as the core issue, Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has said that both countries would have to make 'sacrifices' to resolve the issue but 'India has to make concessions' as it occupies a larger part of Kashmir.

The Pakistani Prime Minister said this while participating in a BBC Hindi and Urdu joint special programme Aapki Baat BBC Ke Saath broadcast on Sunday night.

Without spelling out what sort of concessions he was expecting, Jamali told the BBC, "We are waiting to see how many concessions is India ready to make."

Asked specifically how the two countries would reach an understanding, the Pakistani prime minister said; "We cannot leave things for the future. For this both sides would have to make sacrifices. Without this, issues cannot be resolved."

"You cannot divide Kashmir into two and then see the matter. You would have to see who occupies what part of Kashmir, which is the bigger and powerful country. It is the bigger country that has to sacrifice."

"If the big country makes a concession of say one hundred rupees, the smaller one can make a concession of a rupee and a half. But both sides would have to make sacrifices."

Asked specifically which were the concrete steps that would improve relations between the two countries, the Pakistani leader said the first one has already been taken, that of resuming the process of dialogue after two years.

"I think that this is a big breakthrough," he told listeners.

Answering a question on the UN resolution on Kashmir, Jamali said he would be happy if it was implemented.

Welcoming the Indian government's decision to participate in the SAARC summit in Islamabad in January next year, Jamali said: "Our effort would be to adopt a proactive stance on sports, economy, travel, public to public contact, and visas, so that people can actually see all the steps being taken."

"There is a possibility that we may meet even before SAARC. There are many other international forums."

Asked why he did not take the initiative and meet Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Pakistan prime minister said: "Vajpayee is the elder person. It is the elders who order and for the youngsters to obey. Therefore when he wants, I will meet him."

Jamali spoke effusively about Vajpayee's leadership.

"I can say this with surety that in Vajpayee's leadership, according to my estimate, we have great convenience. He is a mature and an elderly personality, who has a cool mind. I personally feel that I would be at ease to settle this issue with him."

Replying to a pointed question on how he expected the two countries to make progress when they were still levelling allegations against each other on different issues and that there were reports of frequent firing along the Line of Control, Jamali said: "There has been a steady progress in normalisation of relations, but to reach the destination, this process would have to be step-by-step."

"Both the countries have appointed their high commissioners, the bus service has also started, the first meeting for restoring the air link will take place on August 27 and we hope the Samjhauta Express would start soon. We are moving step by step."

As regards the Line of Control, he said, "Pakistan's policy is absolutely clear, that there is no trouble from our side. We are not sending anybody and we have no dual policy that on one hand talk about peace and on the other, and on the other, violate the LoC. This is not our nature."

Jamali also refuted the charge that Pakistan was the epicentre of terrorism. "It is an issue of differences in understanding the problem. The Taliban ruled in Afghanistan and not in Pakistan. The bases of Al Qaeda were in that country."

"So far as Pakistan is concerned, only those who, by mistake or misunderstanding, entered Pakistan, have been handed them to America. If this (Taliban) movement had been in Pakistan, why would we have taken these steps?"

He insisted that the Al Qaeda had no base in Pakistan.

To another question on cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, Jamali said, "Pakistan has never supported terrorism and we have never appreciated it as

well. Pakistan itself has been a victim of terrorism."

Asked how the militant organisations have their offices in Pakistan if it was an indigenous movement (in J&K), Jamali said: "If there were any such offices at all in

Pakistan, they have been closed and sealed. We can prove that we are not in favour of such activities."

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