June 2007 News

AJK president snubs Kasuri

15 June 2007
The News International
Rauf Klasra

London: President Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) Raja Zulqarnain Khan snubbed Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri here on Friday over his recent statement that Pakistan and India have almost reached an accord over the Kashmir dispute. The AJK president also complained that Pakistans Foreign Office had neither taken him into confidence nor briefed him about negotiations with India since his assuming office last year. Addressing a press conference at the Pakistan High Commission, the AJK president warned the Pakistani leadership that any agreement with India without the involvement of the Kashmiri people would not be acceptable. He also reminded them that an honourable solution to the dispute was also in the best interests of Pakistan. Pakistans High Commissioner to London Dr Maleeha Lodhi also attended the press conference. Earlier, Zulqarnain was asked to comment on the recent statement of Foreign Minister Kasuri that Pakistan and India have almost found a solution of the Kashmir dispute and soon the two countries would reach an accord on this lingering issue. The AJK president was visibly unhappy with Kasuris statement. He wondered how Kasuri could make such a prediction at this stage. He said that according to his understanding of the peace process, no such progress had been made so far. The AJK president said that since he had not been taken into confidence by the Pakistan government on any such move, there was no possibility of an early agreement as claimed by Kasuri. Had there been any significant progress between Islamabad and New Delhi on the Kashmir issue, he would have been taken into confidence by Pakistan, he added. Asked if he had been taken into confidence over negotiations with India, Zulqarnain said that nobody from Pakistans Foreign Office had talked to him on this issue. However, he claimed that being the AJK president he would definitely be taken into confidence whenever there was possibility of such an accord. Zulqarnain also warned that any solution to the longstanding dispute without the active involvement of the Kashmir people would be meaningless. Earlier, the AJK president backed the proposals of demilitarisation and joint control of Kashmir. He said that after demilitarisation, the Kashmiri people on both sides should be allowed to move freely across the Line of Control (LoC). He said that it would not be easy for India to take quick decisions on the Kashmir issue. He believed that it was not easy for any government in India to convince the Indians of a deal with Pakistan because it had publicly been claiming for the last 60 years that Kashmir was its integral part. Zulqarnain said that resolution of the Kashmir issue would take some time and we must also understand the difficulties of India.

 

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