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Quake opportunity to forge closer ties, resolve Kashmir: Pak
K J M Varma in Rawalpindi
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November 16, 2005 18:56 IST

Observing that October's earthquake has provided an opportunity for closer Indo-Pak ties, President Pervez Musharraf [Images] Wednesday said the "energy being generated" on both sides of the Line of Control for mutual interaction and assistance should be utilised to resolve the Kashmir issue.

"We cannot clap with one hand, both sides have to realise. I think it (the October 8 quake) has given an opportunity for closer relations, because both sides have suffered. Since Kashmir has suffered on both sides of the LoC, I think it is an occasion to be utilised to reach out for a solution of the Kahsmir dispute.

"I have no doubt in my mind that this is the case. But if India does not realise this, Pakistan cannot alone ensure it," Musharraf told foreign journalists while replying to a question at his camp office in Rawalpindi.

He said a permanent and final solution to the Kashmir issue can be found now as "some kind of energy being generated there (on both sides of Kashmir) for mutual interaction and to assist each other. All this should be utilised towards directing it towards solution of Kashmir issue."

Though the press meet was convened to brief the media on preparation for the November 19 international donors' conference in Islamabad to mobilse the required $5.2 billion to rebuild quake-hit areas, much of news conference was dominated by questions on whether Pakistan was willing to cut down its defence expenditure to divert the funds for reconstruction.

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