July 1999 News

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Extracts of Pakistani statement on Kashmir

11 July 1999
Reuters

ISLAMABAD- The following are extracts from Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz's statement on a truce with India in the disputed Kashmir region:

"Pakistan has always believed in mutual respect of the LOC (Line of Control dividing Kashmir) by both India and Pakistan and a settlement of the Kashmir dispute through peaceful negotiations and dialogue..."

"The cabinet had noted yesterday (Saturday) that the mujahideen (holy warriors) had decided to respond positively to the appeal for de-escalation in the Kargil sector..."

"In the past few weeks the mujahideen action has been gloriously successful as the just and legitimate cause of Kashmir has engaged the international community's undivided attention throughout this period.

"There is a renewed world-wide realisation that a just and final settlement of the Kashmir dispute holds the key to durable peace and stability in South Asia.

"Today, a consensus has emerged that immediately after the de-escalation in Kargil the focus must shift to the expeditious solution of the Kashmir dispute, so that the one billion people who inhabit South Asia can lead a life of peace and engage in the endeavours for economic development and prosperity.

"Following the mujahideen's positive response to our appeal to de-escalate in Kargil, the government of Pakistan and the government of India have been in contact on the question of the restoration of the LOC.

"The directors-general of military operations of the two countries met today and agreed on the modalities for de-escalation, including sector-wise cessation of ground and air operations to facilitate the mujahideen's disengagement.

"We have been informed that disengagement from the Kaksar sector which began yesterday has been proceeding satisfactorily. The disengagement from the Mushkoh sector will commence tonight. Gradually the disengagement will be completed in the entire area."

"It has always been our position that both Pakistan and India should respect the Line of Control, make efforts to de-escalate and promote peace through dialogue and contacts between concerned military and civilian officials.

"We also believe that both India and Pakistan should honour their commitment to implementing the Lahore Declaration in letter and spirit.

"The Lahore process, which envisaged an early solution of the Kashmir dispute, should be revived immediately."

"Their (mujahideen) sacrifices have, once again, brought Kashmir to the centre stage of the world agenda as an issue with grave implications for regional and global peace. It is now the responsibility of the international community, particularly those who espouse the cause of freedom and human rights, to ensure the realisation of a fair and just settlement of the Kashmir dispute as expeditiously as possible.

"The mujahideen's success has made it amply clear that Kashmir is a volcano. Like Kargil, it can erupt again if the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiris are not realised soon."

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