Presidency Has Record Of Kashmir Proposal: Kasuri8 February 2010
Islamabad: Former foreign minister and PML (Likeminded) leader Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri strongly reacted on Monday to a statement made by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi rejecting claims made by the Musharraf government and his foreign minister about progress on resolving the Kashmir issue as a result of backchannel diplomacy. Mr Qureshi said on Sunday that if there was any proposal it might have been a secret between some individuals, but neither he nor the people of Pakistan knew anything about it because there was no record at the Foreign Office. Mohammad Sadiq, a former Foreign Office spokesman and currently Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, said in an interview last year that the secret proposal was still on the table. In a statement issued by the PML House, Mr Khurshid claimed that the record of the proposal was with the government. In fact, he said, President Asif Ali Zardari had in his first press conference as head of the state referred to progress on Kashmir settlement and stated rather ‘overenthusiastically’ that he was aware of the progress and the nation would soon hear good news. “At least President Zardari, according to my knowledge, is aware of the backchannel diplomacy and the Presidency has a detailed record of it,” he added. Mr Kasuri said it was “unfortunate and unbelievable” that there was a total disconnect between the Presidency and the Foreign Office over the issue. “Normally, if the Presidency has any record relating to the foreign policy the Foreign Office should have access to it.” The former foreign minister said he was surprised by Mr Qureshi’s statement, adding that it was a fair assumption that the Presidency would have shared the details with the foreign minister. Mr Kasuri said that information about progress in backchannel talks was in the public domain.