Zardari expects breakthrough on Sir Creek, Siachen

11 September 2008
The News International
Hamid Mir

Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari is hopeful that the two pending disputes with India Siachen and Sir Creek will be resolved very soon and an atmosphere of trust will be created in which India and Pakistan will try to achieve a breakthrough to resolve the Kashmir dispute. Talking to The News on Thursday, President Zardari assured that his government will not depend on secret diplomacy.'All the possible solutions on Kashmir will be discussed first in a parliamentary committee on Kashmir and then the final solution will be approved by parliament,' he said. He claimed Nawaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Altaf Hussain will be on board on any breakthrough over Kashmir.President Zardari also revealed that he is going to England where his daughter Bakhtawar will get admission to the University of Edinburgh. After that he will meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He said his plans of a China visit are still intact and the foreign office is finalising details with Beijing. In response to a question, President Zardari defended his joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. He said the media has the right to raise questions about the joint press conference but one must admit that Karzai softened his stance towards Pakistan. He said: 'Yes, I know that Karzai Sahib issued some harsh statements about the Pakistani government in the past but now his stance is very soft which is a positive sign.' President Zardari also commented on the statement of the Army chief and said no external force will be allowed to conduct military operations inside Pakistan.'The Army chief repeated the government's policy. The prime minister and myself have already condemned cross-border strikes into tribal areas and the two houses of parliament have already spoken through unanimous resolutions,' the president added. Responding to another question, President Zardari said he is aware of some recent demands of the ANP for change in ministerial portfolios. He said: 'Don't worry the prime minister will take care of the ANP concerns during the expansion in the cabinet soon.' The president also said he is aware of the challenges faced by Pakistan today and agreed that: 'I have not become president to enjoy power but actually a big test of my life has started. But give me some time, at least two to three months, and then you will be justified in asking hard questions.' President Asif Ali Zardari is hopeful that the two pending disputes with India Siachen and Sir Creek will be resolved very soon and an atmosphere of trust will be created in which India and Pakistan will try to achieve a breakthrough to resolve the Kashmir dispute. Talking to The News on Thursday, President Zardari assured that his government will not depend on secret diplomacy.'All the possible solutions on Kashmir will be discussed first in a parliamentary committee on Kashmir and then the final solution will be approved by parliament,' he said. He claimed Nawaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Altaf Hussain will be on board on any breakthrough over Kashmir.President Zardari also revealed that he is going to England where his daughter Bakhtawar will get admission to the University of Edinburgh. After that he will meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He said his plans of a China visit are still intact and the foreign office is finalising details with Beijing. In response to a question, President Zardari defended his joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. He said the media has the right to raise questions about the joint press conference but one must admit that Karzai softened his stance towards Pakistan. He said 'Yes, I know that Karzai Sahib issued some harsh statements about the Pakistani government in the past but now his stance is very soft which is a positive sign.' President Zardari also commented on the statement of the Army chief and said no external force will be allowed to conduct military operations inside Pakistan.'The Army chief repeated the government's policy. The prime minister and myself have already condemned cross-border strikes into tribal areas and the two houses of parliament have already spoken through unanimous resolutions,' the president added. Responding to another question, President Zardari said he is aware of some recent demands of the ANP for change in ministerial portfolios. He said 'Don't worry the prime minister will take care of the ANP concerns during the expansion in the cabinet soon.' The president also said he is aware of the challenges faced by Pakistan today and agreed that 'I have not become president to enjoy power but actually a big test of my life has started. But give me some time, at least two to three months, and then you will be justified in asking hard questions.'