April 2007 News

Kashmir solution must be saleable on both sides: Aziz

5 April 2007
The Hindu
Amit Baruah

New Delhi: Any solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute should be 'saleable' by the leaders of India and Pakistan to their peoples, the Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz emphasised in an exclusive interview to The Hindu in New Delhi on Wednesday. 'I think the evolution of any solution must and will reflect saleability and acceptability by all stakeholders,' he observed. 'Otherwise, naturally, it will not have traction. You must have faith in the people who are negotiating and the leadership of both countries. Whatever evolves should be acceptable to the key stakeholders.' Mr. Aziz suggested that there could be a series of options or solutions on Kashmir and these solutions could then be put out for discussion. 'Once we get the feedback, we can then crystallise it even further.' Indicating that the two countries might have moved forward towards a resolution of the Siachen issue, Pakistan's Prime Minister said that some technical details between the two armed forces remained. 'Certainly, Pakistan feels this issue can be addressed through dialogue and both countries will have to be magnanimous, courageous, flexible and show leadership,' he responded when asked whether a deal on Siachen was in the works. Mr. Aziz felt that if India and Pakistan lifted trade barriers, a $9 billion level of two-way trade, as projected in a new World Bank report, 'may not be unrealistic.' Asked whether Islamabad would allow Indian companies to invest in Pakistan, he answered, 'Not yet.' As disputes were resolved, there would be a positive impact on bilateral trade, he added. Asked whether the anti-terror mechanism between the two countries could deliver given the long history of mutual suspicion, Mr. Aziz responded: 'I would say it is definitely possible. Let's start somewhere. If we don't start, we will never remove the baggage of the past.' 'I think the overall functioning of the state and the stability of various arms of the government is very much there,' Pakistan's Prime Minister said when asked about the implications of President Pervez Musharraf suspending Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

 

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