Qayyum for positive response to Indian offer
27 November 2000
The News International
Islamabad: Positive response should be given to the Indian ceasefire offer as it can lead to resumption of dialogue and peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute, Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan said at a press conference here on Monday. Former president and prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir said the dialogue on Kashmir issue has to be tripartite as excluding any of the parties will not serve the cause of peaceful resolution of the dispute. Sardar proposed that the Kashmiri leaders from both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) should be allowed to meet at a neutral place where they can discuss different aspects of the problems and evolve proposals for reducing the tensions in the region and for the final settlement of the Kashmir dispute. He said that the ceasefire announcement had not come out of the blue, as the proposal was under consideration for quite some time. ''During the tenure of former Indian prime minister Narasimha Rao, the ceasefire proposal during Ramazan was floated and later some of the western countries also discussed this proposal with the Kashmiri leaders. So some exercise in this regard has been going on, in the background,'' Qayyum said. He said Pakistan should not give a negative response to the Indian ceasefire without giving a proper consideration to the idea. ''Otherwise the whole world would say that we don''t believe in the peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute''. He hoped the ceasefire would lead to resumption of dialogue. Sardar Quyyam proposed that in the initial phase, the dialogue process should be used to reduce tensions and resumption of formal dialogue and later the parties to the dispute can discuss the concrete steps for the resolution of Kashmir dispute. Sardar Quyyam opposed the idea of granting constitutional status to Northern Areas as it would damage the cause of Kashmir in case of plebiscite there. However, the people of Northern Areas should be granted full fundamental rights, he added.