Pakistan's Peace Farce: Kashmir Is The Core Issue, Can't Be Ignored, Says Khar

Pakistan's Peace Farce: Kashmir Is The Core Issue, Can't Be Ignored, Says Khar

8 September 2012
Daily Bhaskar


Islamabad: Asking India not to allow past hold both the countries hostage, Pakistan's Hina Rabbani Khar raked up the Kashmir issue on Saturday, saying India must resolve the issue to move ahead with parleys. Khar said India and Pakistan have enough potential to improve ties. 'Visa agreement is the first step towards normalisation of ties,' she underlined at a joint briefing with her Indian counterpart External Affairs Minister SM Krishna. She said both the neighbours should disarm people dividing the two countries. Adding that India-Pakistan dialogue has moved ahead significantly, Khar said: 'Kashmir is the core issue... It cannot be ignored.' 'We must learn from missed opportunities... India should resolve the Kashmir dispute to move ahead with parleys,' she underlined. Stating that terrorism is a joint challenge for both the neighbours, Krishna said the talks were cordial, frank and productive. He asked Pakistan to stop anti-terror acts on its soil. 'India is not linking 26-11 Mumbai terror attacks to better ties... Desire of India to move ahead with dialouge should be respected.' He, however, said Pakistan should ensure justice to 26-11 victims. Krishna said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit Pakistan at an appropriate time and has not put any pre-condition for the visit. Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the country cannot do anything to control militants, who are 'beyond control'. 'Terrorists and several non-state actors are beyond the control of the Pakistani government,' Malik said. He said India should share terror related information to avoid future attacks. India, Pakistan ink visa pact India and Pakistan on Saturday signed a pact to liberalise their visa regime to promote greater trade, travel and people-to-people contacts between the two neighbours. Krishna and Khar held talks on a wide range of issues, including terrorism, Kashmir, trade and ways to expand people-to-people contacts. After the talks, a pact on liberalising the visa regime was signed by Krishna and Malik. Terming the visa pact as the 'big first step in normalizing relations' between India and Pakistan, Khar pushed for forging a people-centric and development-centric relationship between the two countries. 'This is the sign of friendship,' Malik said after the signing ceremony. Before the signing of the agreement, Krishna, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, held wide-ranging talks with his Pakistani counterpart. The agreement, which was struck after months of negotiations, will ease trade and travel between the two countries. Senior citizens, aged 65 and above, in India and Pakistan can now walk across the border between the two countries and need not go through the hassles of getting a visa from embassies in New Delhi and Islamabad. Senior citizens will be granted visas on arrival at the Attari and Wagah border in Pakistan and India. Under the new arrangement, senior citizens will be granted a visa on arrival valid for 45 days. Manmohan not shying away from Pakistan visit: Krishna India on Saturday refused to give a firm commitment on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Pakistan saying that the atmosphere has to be 'ripe' and something 'worthwhile' should come out from such a trip. Making it clear that Prime Minister Singh was 'not shying away' from visiting Pakistan, Krishna said the Indian premier had never put conditions for his Pakistan visit. 'Prime Minister has never put conditions for his visit to Pakistan. I think, the visit will take at an appropriate time when the atmosphere is ripe, when he feels that something worthwhile will come out of visit,' Krishna said. Pressed further by a Pakistani journalist, Krishna said, 'Prime Minister is not shying away from visiting Pakistan. In every conceivable opportunity which came in his way, he has been dealing with the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan. 'Manmohan Singh is the one who has been the mover of the relationship to next level'. Krishna said that he will provide his own assessment of the situation and depending upon that the Prime Minister will decide about Pakistan visit. 'We all feel that the Prime Minister of India, I think has to work out, depending upon his schedule his visit to Pakistan,' Krishna said. Later, the Minister again said that he will report to Prime Minister Singh his assessment and that 'I will not be able to say when he will be coming.' To Krishna remarks on his assessment, Khar chipped in and said, 'From my interaction with him (Krishna), I can assure that the assessment will be a positive assessment'.