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Zardari seeks early resolution of Siachen, Sir Creek
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September 12, 2008 12:20 IST

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is hopeful that disputes related to Siachen and Sir Creek will be resolved very soon with India, creating an atmosphere for the two countries to achieve a breakthrough on the long-standing Kashmir issue.

Insisting that his government will not depend on secret diplomacy to resolve outstanding issues with India, Zardari told The News daily he was hopeful the military stand-off on the Siachen glacier and the Sir Creek boundary dispute would be resolved very soon.

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The settlement of these two issues could create an atmosphere of trust in which the two countries could move forward on the Kashmir dispute, he said.

"All the possible solutions on Kashmir will be discussed first in a parliamentary committee on Kashmir and then the final solution will be approved by parliament," he said.

Zardari, who was sworn in as President this week, said opposition Pakistan Muslim League - N chief Nawaz Sharif, Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and MQM leader Altaf Hussain would be on board for any breakthrough on the Kashmir issue.

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Reports have suggested that India and Pakistan are close to resolving the Siachen and Sir Creek issues.

The two countries have reached some common ground on the Sir Creek boundary issue while the resolution of the Siachen dispute is held up by the issue of authenticating the military positions of the two sides on the glacier, sources said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had on Thursday said that the government would soon form a parliamentary caucus for forging consensus on the Kashmir issue and the peace process with India.

Expect good news on Kashmir soon, Zardari to India

All political parties would have representation in the caucus, which would be in addition to the National Assembly's Kashmir committee that was constituted last month. The formation of the caucus is being done on a fast track.

"Through the caucus, we will develop consensus on dialogue with India and the situation in Kashmir," Qureshi said.

The President had promised 'some good news' on the Kashmir issue at his first news conference on Tuesday.

Separatists lash out at Zardari over J&K remarks

Zardari also said that he would meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown when he traveled later this month to Britain, where his daughter Bakhtawar will get admission to the University of Edinburgh.

He said his plans for a visit to China are still intact and the Foreign Office is finalising details with Beijing [Images].

Zardari also defended his decision to hold a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai [Images] hours after he was sworn in.

"Yes, I know that Karzai sahab issued some harsh statements about Pakistan government in the past but now his stance is very soft, which is a positive sign," Zardari said.

He also endorsed army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani's statement that no foreign forces would be allowed to conduct military operations inside Pakistan.

"The army chief repeated the government's policy. The prime minister and myself have already condemned cross-border strikes into the tribal areas and the two houses of parliament have already spoken through unanimous resolutions," he added.

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