Resolve Kashmir In Spirit Of Lahore Declaration: Sharif

29 January 2009
The Hindu

Lahore: Hoping that the 'spirit' of the Lahore Declaration will be 'restored sooner or later', former Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said the 1999 agreement should be made the basis of the resolution of Kashmir issue. 'Kashmir is a core issue between Pakistan and India and this issue needs to be resolved in the same spirit as was expressed between the two prime ministers when Mr (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee came to Pakistan and signed the Lahore Declaration,' Sharif told reporters after meeting a delegation of Kashmiri separatist leaders. Sharif, who heads the main opposition PML-N party, said 'other events' had overtaken the spirit of the Lahore Declaration but he remained hopeful that 'it will be restored sooner or later'. He added: 'But this issue is the core issue, this issue needs to be resolved in right earnest and also (in line with) the aspirations of the people of Kashmir.' The Lahore Declaration was signed by Vajpayee and Sharif in early 1999, shortly before the Kargil war. The hostilities were triggered by the occupation of strategic heights in Kargil by militants and Pakistan Army troops. Senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Bhat, who led the separatist delegation that called on Sharif at his residence in Raiwind, said there was no alternative available to India and Pakistan 'other than talking and resolving the dispute on Kashmir'.