Musharraf’s Policies Harmed Kashmir Cause, Says Qureshi4 May 2010
The News International
Islamabad: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday pointed out severe flaws in the Kashmir policy of former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and said the Kashmir policy of the previous regime extensively harmed the Kashmir cause. “We are trying to redress the loss inflicted on the Kashmir issue during the previous government,” he said in a policy statement in the National Assembly on Tuesday. The minister rose in response to a private member motion raised by Marvi Memon on behalf of Suttiya Asghar about the government’s Kashmir policy. Reiterating the Pakistanís stance on the resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN resolutions, Qureshi said Kashmir had been the keystone of the Pakistan foreign policy and Pakistan would continue the diplomatic and moral support of the Kashmiri people for peaceful settlement of the issue. He said the previous government adopted the backdoor channel diplomacy, which harmed the Kashmir policy but the present government had returned on the historic and principled stand on the Kashmir issue from which the former government deviated. “It was unfortunate that the previous government brought changes in the stance on the Kashmir issue but the present elected government following the policy of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had recovered this loss and now the matters were moving forward in the right direction,” he added. The minister said the Kashmiri people were a major party in this dispute and Pakistan could not support any solution of this long-standing issue without the involvement and acceptance of the Kashmiris. Referring to the recent meeting between Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in Bhutan, he said the Kashmir issue was discussed threadbare and both the leaders agreed to launch the fifth round of talks to resolve all the issues between the two countries, including Jammu and Kashmir. He said both the leaders felt that there was a trust deficit between the two countries and the respective foreign ministers were assigned the task to take measures to bridge this gap and move forward. The minister said both the leaders reached on a conclusion that there was no way to resolve the outstanding issues but to restore the Composite Dialogue. He said when the PPP came into the government, at that time the Musharraf government had already started the Composite Dialogue with India and held four rounds of talks. He said on June 27, 2008, we raised the issue of Kashmir in New Delhi and declared Kashmir the real agenda. He said in his meeting with the Indian prime minister on September 24, 2008, in New York, President Zardari also raised Kashmir and water issues with India. “In a meeting with the Indian foreign minister, I had also raised the issue of Kashmir and Prime Minister Gilani held the meeting with the Indian prime minister on July 16, 2009, and after the meeting a joint communique was issued after which there was rumpus in the Indian Lok Sabha,” he added. He said after the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan and India exchanged dossiers and when India mentioned some people, they were arrested and indicted. “The executive has done its job while the courts and the judiciary are independent, so they took their own time,” he added. Referring to the water issue with India, the minister said the government was serious to take up this issue at the proper forum and efforts would be made to compel India to implement the Indus Basin Water Treaty.