Clarify Position On Kasuri's Kashmir Deal Claims: BJP To Government21 January 2011
New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley Friday said the government should clarify its position on the claims made by former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri that there was 'near consensus' in the track-II talks between India and Pakistan on demilitarisation and self-governance in Jammu and Kashmir. Jaitley, who is Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf had made similar remarks in the past and the government should clear its position. Jaitley said the former Pakistan minister has mentioned that there was 'near consensus on demilitarisation, self-governance, regionalism and joint mechanism to administer the two parts of the state'. 'In effect, it means return of the army, obliteration of Line of Control and creating a joint mechanism for governance. The track-II can be marginally different but not diametrically opposite. Is it a fact or propaganda,' he said. Jaitley said Kasuri also mentioned that Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani fully supported the proposal. Jaitley said the government of India has so far not commented on the remarks of former Pakistan leaders but if what they are saying is even partly correct, it would mean compromising the country's sovereignty. 'Therefore the government of India should come out with a statement clarifying it, refuting it or accepting it,' Jaitley said, adding that parliament had passed a unanimous resolution in 1994 saying that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. He said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government does not have a mandate to change the country's stand on Kashmir. Kasuri Thursday said the Pakistan Army backed the resumption of the peace process and had supported a deal on Kashmir reached through back-channel talks during president Pervez Musharraf's tenure. Kasuri underlined that the back-channel talks during the reign of Pervez Musharraf in 2004-2007 had made enormous progress and stressed that the two sides had reached an 'amicable agreement' on Jammu and Kashmir. Jaitley said the march to Kashmir by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the party, was aimed at drawing the government's attention to the party's stand on Kashmir. Answering queries, he said the march will be peaceful. The BJYM has declared that they will hoist the tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar Jan 26.