Proposals On Kashmir Half-baked: Gilani

10 May 2008
The Nation


Islamabad: PRIME Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said the proposals discussed with India in the recent years to resolve the Kashmir issue were 'half-baked things that didn't have the mandate of Parliament'. Reverting to the hawkish stand that the 'core issue' of Kashmir must be settled in line with UN resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, he said at the same time there should be a rethink about the Kashmir issue and that his government could 'go beyond' the UN resolutions. Outlining Pakistan's new coalition government's plans to improve relations with India and to resolve outstanding issues, he was speaking in CNN-IBN's programme 'Devil's Advocate'. 'Yes there are a few core issues which we want to resolve. At the same time, we want to maintain excellent and extremely good relations with our neighbours.' On Kashmir, Gilani said: 'Our point of view is very, very clear that is (the issue should be resolved) according to the resolutions of United Nations and the aspirations of the people of Kashmir.' He added that the Kashmir issue would be discussed when India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee visits Islamabad on May 21. Gilani dismissed as 'half-baked things' proposals discussed by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during parleys over the past four years to resolve the dragging Kashmir issue. These included suggestions that there be no alteration of boundaries and that borders be made irrelevant. 'These were half-baked things that didn't have the mandate of the parliament. And now the new government has taken over, we have a government that has a prime minister who was unanimously elected. We have the support of all the political forces in the country,' he said. Responding to a question, Gillani said Pakistan will take action against any terrorist group operating against India from its soil and consider a request for extraditing underworld don Dawood Ibrahim if New Delhi provides 'authentic proof' in this regard. Gilani said his government could also consider India's request for access to terrorist leaders like Masood Azhar, who was released in return for safety of passengers of Indian Airlines plane hijacked to Kandahar in 1999, if it is backed by evidence. Rejecting India's concerns over terrorism in Kashmir being financed and executed by Pakistan-based groups, he said, 'We are already working with the whole world for extremism and terrorism and our point of view is extremely clear that we are against terrorism and extremism.' 'We have lost our own leader Benazir Bhutto because of terrorism. How can I deny that? At the same time, we are fighting against terrorism,' Gillani said.