January 2004 News

Pak Ready To Look Beyond UN Resolutions On Kashmir: Kasuri

8 January 2004
The Indian Express

Dubai: With India and Pakistan agreeing to hold a composite dialogue next month, Islamabad has said it is willing to look at options other than UN resolutions to settle the Kashmir problem but made it clear that it has no plans to 'abandon Kashmir'. Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri told Gulf News: 'We are willing to look at options other than UN resolutions. We realise these are what give Pakistan's position legitimacy in Kashmir but the resolutions were made 50 years ago. Has it solved the Kashmir issue?' 'There are other UN resolutions, Palestine is a case in point, which have not been honoured. We must explore the option of talks with India,' Kasuri said. 'We have no plans to abandon Kashmir. Indeed, we have made sure it is part of the declaration (joint statement), that it is part of the composite dialogue,' he said. Reacting to the rising displeasure of hardline jehadi elements, rattled by Pakistan government's promise not to allow itself to become a haven of terror, he said the Opposition should not make political capital of the Kashmir issue. 'We came to the realisation first, followed by India,' Kasuri said, adding 'we must now cash in on the feelgood factor to create a peaceful South Asia that is attractive to FDIs.' When asked what had indeed prompted India to offer talks without holding Pakistan to the pre-condition of an end to 'cross-border terrorism', Kasuri credited the confidence of both leaders in leaving aside the baggage of 54 years and having the courage to signal they were willing to be 'flexible'. He said the inner circle kept a lid on negotiations so that there would be no room for misreporting or misrepresention by the media.


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