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India must open its heart: Kasuri

March 26, 2006 16:52 IST

Pakistan has said the 'positive tone' of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] remarks advocating an Indo-Pak Treaty of Peace, Security and Friendship was appreciable, but cautioned that such offers in the past had failed to materialse into something concreate.

"Pakistan welcomes Dr Singh's remarks made at Amristar two days ago while flagging of the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service and the positive tone of his comments was appreciable," Foreign Minister Khursid M Kasuri told reporters in Lahore [Images] on Saturday.

Dr Singh had said the peace process 'must ultimately culminate in our two countries entering into a Treaty of Peace, Security and Friendship to give meaning and substance to our quest for shared goals'.

"I make this offer to the people of Pakistan on this historic occasion. I am sure the leadership of Pakistan will reciprocate", the prime minister said, while flagging off the Amritsar-Nankana bus service linking the two Punjabs.

Kasuri said peace offers had been exchanged between India and Pakistan during the last few years but they had failed to materialise into something concrete, while not commenting specifically on Dr Singh's latest proposal. Pakistan has demonstrated the sincerity of purpose while also outlining various proposals and now it is for India to respond to these measures, he said.

On Dr Singh's assertion that Pakistan should do more to curb cross-border terrorism, he claimed Indian leaders had admitted that infiltration had reduced considerably. "It would be a mistake to accuse Pakistan of every problem in India," he said, adding India was a huge country with several insurgency movements, including that of Naxalites. He also denied the presence of any terrorist camps in Pakistan.

On Dr Singh's comments that it was a mistake on the part of Pakistan to link resolution of Kashmir to the normalisation process, Kasuri said Islamabad could not be accused of focusing on Kashmir alone as it currently held talks on many other issues, including Siachen and Sir Creek.

He identified bureaucratic mindsets in both countries as the major hurdle in the peace process and said the problem could be overcome by sincere statesmanship on either side. Noting that peace process progressed through confidence building measures introduced to create genuine understanding, such as Srinagar- Muzafarabad bus service and opening of five points along Line of Control, he said, "What is required now is that India should open its heart."

Kasuri also said India has not responded to proposals of demilitarisation, self governance and joint management made by President Pervez Musharraf [Images]. The dialogue process was slow and needed to be accelerated, he said, adding Pakistan was also interested in resolving the dispute over Baglihar hydro-electric project, which has been referred to the World Bank by Islamabad.

On Afghanistan's charges that Islamabad was not cracking down hard on Taliban militia, he said Pakistan has always helped its neighbour, adding President Hamid Karzai's anti-Pakistan statements were beyond comprehension.

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