February 2004 News

Pakistan to welcome moderate Kashmiri leaders: Kasuri

1 February 2004
The News International

NEW DELHI: Pakistan would welcome a visit by a moderate group of Kashmiris from the disputed Himalayan region, Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri said in remarks published on Sunday. In an interview published in the Hindustan Times, Kasuri said that Islamabad would like 'the Kashmiri leadership to move freely across the border'. He was responding to a question of how a moderate faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference would be received in Pakistan. 'All Kashmiris, that does not exclude the people you have mentioned, should be encouraged to move freely. The Pakistani government has always welcomed that in principle,' he said. When asked if he was 'satisfied' with the talks between Advani and the Hurriyat moderates, Kasuri said: 'Increased interaction between the Kashmiris and the governments of Pakistan and India would be useful. The Kashmiris could help in bringing India and Pakistan closer if they are given a chance.' Meanwhile, the foreign minister has urged the Indians to boycott movies that spread hatred between the two nations. He also urged the Indian media to be more balanced in its views on Pakistan. 'I would appeal to Indian society to discourage the Mumbai film industry from making hate-Pakistan movies,' he said. 'They should not encourage those producers who wish to make money out of hatred. Indian civil society should boycott such films.' Kasuri's remarks came as a delegation from India's Hindi film industry based in Mumbai gets ready to travel to Pakistan to discuss a range of issues, including a ban on the making of movies that spread hatred between the two nations. The delegation, comprising Producer-Director Rakesh Roshan and actors Jeetendra, Ranjeet, Prem Chopra and Parikshit Sahani, plans to visit Lahore during the Basant festival in March for talks with Pakistani filmmakers. Kasuri in the interview said that some satellite television channels were so full of hate propaganda that, 'I wonder whether they have promoted the feelings of friendship across the border.' India's media was independent while covering internal issues, he said, but when it came to foreign policy towards Pakistan: 'they are unbelievable.' 'There is no difference between the independent media's opinion and what the Indian external affairs ministry has to say.' Asked when Pakistan would remove a ban imposed on Indian media and satellite channels, Kasuri said that the curbs would be lifted 'as things begin to improve'. 'Just (by) opening up channels relations will not improve,' he cautioned. 'The Indians will have to be objective in their analyses.'


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