March 2008 News

Zardari says Kashmir issue should be left for future generation

1 March 2008
The News International
NOT SPECIFIED

DELHI: NEW DELHI: Co-chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Asif Ali Zardari has said India and Pakistan should focus on improving economic ties before trying to settle the decades-old Kashmir dispute. According to a transcript of the interview the Indian television news channel CNN-IBN, released on Saturday, Zardari said progress on improving relations with India should not be hindered by the question of Kashmir. The two nations can come back and tackle thorny issues when bilateral relations improve. People-to-people contacts should be improved, then trade, interdependence of trade, he said. The PPP maintained a tough policy on Kashmir, firmly supporting the Kashmiris in held Kashmir, but we do not want to be hostage to that situation, Zardari said. He conceded: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf probably had the best understanding ever, but I want to take the relations to a stage of such confidence-building that the fear factor diminishes. When referred to belief in some sections in Delhi that the Kashmir issue could best be sorted out when the army is ruling in Islamabad, Zardari said, Well, we have had Army rule for eight years. Have they solved it? I do not need to convince them, it talks for itself. Co-chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Asif Ali Zardari has said India and Pakistan should focus on improving economic ties before trying to settle the decades-old Kashmir dispute. According to a transcript of the interview the Indian television news channel CNN-IBN, released on Saturday, Zardari said progress on improving relations with India should not be hindered by the question of Kashmir. The two nations can come back and tackle thorny issues when bilateral relations improve. People-to-people contacts should be improved, then trade, interdependence of trade, he said. The PPP maintained a tough policy on Kashmir, firmly supporting the Kashmiris in held Kashmir, but we do not want to be hostage to that situation, Zardari said. He conceded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf probably had the best understanding ever, but I want to take the relations to a stage of such confidence-building that the fear factor diminishes. When referred to belief in some sections in Delhi that the Kashmir issue could best be sorted out when the army is ruling in Islamabad, Zardari said, Well, we have had Army rule for eight years. Have they solved it? I do not need to convince them, it talks for itself.

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