Kashmir major concern: Pak
‘It’s For US To Decide On Special Envoy’
REZAUL H LASKAR/PTI
Islamabad, Nov 4: Pakistan Thursday said the Kashmir issue is a “major concern” for Islamabad and hoped the upcoming visit of President Barack Obama to India would help in contributing to efforts to resolve the long-standing dispute.
“Kashmir issue continues to be a major concern for us and we hope President Obama’s visit would help in contributing to the efforts to resolve this long-standing dispute,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told media persons here today.
Basit said it was for the US to decide on appointing a special envoy for the Kashmir issue. “This proposal had been considered in the past. So we would welcome it if this happens,” he said.
A question on Congress party president Sonia Gandhi’s recent remarks about a political solution to the Kashmir issue elicited a stinging response from Basit.
At the AICC meeting in New Delhi earlier this week, Sonia had said that a meaningful political dialogue with all shades and regions of Jammu and Kashmir was needed.
Basit said: “Such conciliatory but vague statements are not unexpected given that President Obama is visiting India on November 6. The people of Pakistan and Kashmiris are familiar with such gimmicks that least impress them”.
“The irony is that India has never shown serious commitment to settle the Kashmir dispute. In fact, its stance and statements on Kashmir are loaded with contradictions,” he said.
“India’s “actual objective has always been to put the dispute on the backburner and let the world forget about it. But this will never happen. Kashmiris have rendered great sacrifices in their legitimate struggle and they will never settle for anything less than exercising their right to self-determination,” he added and added that it was a matter of “serious concern” that India “continues to ride roughshod over the UN Charter and universal declaration of human rights. PTI
In response to several other questions on Obama’s visit to India beginning tomorrow, Basit said Pakistan was hopeful that stronger relations between New Delhi and Washington would foster peace and stability in South Asia.
“If India is a strategic partner of the US, we feel that their relations could be helpful in promoting peace and stability in South Asia.We are confident that President Obama is conscious of that and his visit to India would help to promote peace and stability in South Asia,” he said.
Obama’s remarks in an interview with PTI ahead of his visit to India dominated the weekly briefing at the Foreign Office.
Asked to comment on Obama’s remark that he sees “India as a cornerstone of America’s engagement in Asia”, Basit said: “We just concluded the third round of the Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue and that dialogue made it very clear that the US is interested in having a long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan”.
“We are not very worried about (Obama’s comment)”.
Basit insisted that Pakistan’s relations with the US should not be seen through “the prism of US-India relations”.
He added: “Pakistan’s relations are independent of what is happening between US and India”.
Replying to another question on Obama’s remark that Pakistan has a “special responsibility” to act “transparently, fully and urgently” to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks to justice, Basit contended that Islamabad was “sparing no effort” in this regard.
Basit refused to interpret why Obama would stay in the Taj Hotel, one of the targets in the Mumbai attacks, during the inaugural leg of his visit.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 5 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST
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