Pakistan committed to talks with India: Aziz
By Mohammad Imran
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is committed to substantive and result-oriented talks with India to resolve all outstanding issues, including the dispute over Kashmir, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Saturday.
Without the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, hopes for peace and prosperity in South Asia would not materialise, the prime minister said in an address to the 35th session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council.
“We hope that India will reciprocate these sentiments and join Pakistan in working together to promote a just and durable peace,” he said.
He said that human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir “continue to weigh heavily on the collective conscience of the international community”.
Discussing the recent developments in Pakistan-India relations, the prime minister said that Pakistan had always emphasised the necessity of having a meaningful and constructive dialogue to resolve differences.
“In this context, we have embarked on the process of a composite dialogue with India aimed at resolving all outstanding issues, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. We have made a strategic choice to pursue a peace based on justice for Kashmir,” he said.
He said that a durable peace in South Asia could only be achieved by a peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute, a solution that was in accord with the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
“We have always maintained that besides Pakistan and India, the people of Kashmir are the principal parties to the dispute. It must be resolved in accordance with their wishes,” he said.
Mr Aziz added that it was not merely a territorial dispute, but about the inalienable right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine their own future.
“We are heartened by the recommendations given by the ad-hoc delegation of the European Parliament in its recent report on Kashmir,” he said.
He said that the report was objective and a reflection of the moral compunctions that the tragedy of Kashmir evoked among people of conscience and a sense of justice.
“Pakistan hopes that the European Parliament will take action on the recommendations given in the report, particularly with regard to the appointment of a special rapporteur on Kashmir,” he said. He said that all Pakistanis were united in their support for a peaceful political settlement of the Kashmir dispute.
The cause of the people of Kashmir derived its strength from the steadfast resolve of oppressed people for freedom, he said. This cause was rooted in international legitimacy derived from the United Nations Charter and the relevant Security Council resolutions.
Mr Aziz added that this inherent and fundamental right could not be denied to them. India must be made to realise that the indomitable will of the Kashmiris would eventually prevail. “The use of force to suppress the aspirations of the proud Kashmiri people is counter-productive,” the prime minister said. He said that more than 80,000 Kashmiris had died for the sake of freedom. Their supreme sacrifices could not go in vain, he added.