January 2003 News

No Kashmir settlement sans Pakistan, says Kasuri

13 January 2003
The News International

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri has ruled out any solution to the lingering Kashmir dispute which does not include Pakistan and disregards wishes of the Kashmiri people.'Pakistan is an indispensable party to any solution of the Kashmir dispute,' the minister said in an interview to 'Geo TV'. Similarly, he said given the unprecedented sacrifices by the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination, 'it is absolutely impractical to conceive a solution that ignores their wishes.'Replying to a question he said: 'India has long desired to sideline Pakistan but I want to make it clear that there is no solution to the Kashmir dispute which sidelines Pakistan'. He said Pakistan has accepted the reality that both Pakistan and India, and the Kashmiri people are necessary parties to any solution of the Kashmir problem. 'Sooner the Indian establishment realises, better it will be for the region,' he added.The foreign minister said he was happy to note what US representative Richard Hass stated in New Delhi recently, urging India to hold unconditional talks with Pakistan on the issue. 'This is what all the US and western diplomats have been saying all along,' said the minister.Kasuri referred to the 'worst socio-economic indicators' in the region and said peace was inevitable to address the growing problems of poverty, health and education in the region. 'In a place of tension, like that of the subcontinent, no one would like to invest here,' he added.He reiterated Pakistan's desire for a dialogue between the two countries to resolve all the outstanding issues including the core Kashmir dispute. 'Pakistan cannot be pressurised to give up its principled stand and the India has seen the futility of its decision to keep a million of its troops on its border with Pakistan for ten months,' he added.


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