Kashmiri leaders briefed on peace process
21 November 2006
Islamabad: Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri on Tuesday briefed Kashmiri leaders, including AJK President Raja Zulqarnain Khan and Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, on Pakistan-India peace process and shared with them key aspects of various proposals mooted by President Pervez Musharraf for the final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The briefing acquires special significance as it came ahead of the first meeting between Mr Kasuri and his new Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee in Delhi on Monday (Nov 27) where the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is likely to figure in the discussions. Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan also gave the Kashmiri leaders a detailed briefing on the talks held in New Delhi last week and his meeting with the top APHC leadership. The five-hour interactive session at the Foreign Office was attended by the members of Parliament from the AJ&K Assembly, the AJ&K Legislative Council leaders of various sections of Kashmiri opinion and representatives of Kashmiri leaders from occupied Kashmir. Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Ijazul Haq was also present on the occasion. A statement issued by the Foreign Minister’s Office said “The foreign minister emphasized that Pakistan’s policy on Jammu & Kashmir was based on the premise that any final settlement of the dispute had to be in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Pakistan had made this clear to the Indian side at every level of bilateral talks.” While reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to the Kashmiri cause, the foreign minister assured the Kashmiri leaders that the process of consultation with them would continue in the future, the statement said. “The foreign minister gave a background of various proposals by President Musharraf and explained in detail the main aspects of these proposals,” it said. The foreign minister told the Kashmiri leaders that as a result of Pakistan’s policy of constant engagement with international community and with India, Kashmir issue was receiving appropriate attention. The Kashmiri leaders expressed the hope that the Composite Dialogue would lead to a just and final resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. They also thanked Mr Kasuri for the briefing.