Pakistan and India will negotiate on Kashmir: Kasuri
* ‘Musharraf’s decision to participate in war on terror correct’
ISLAMABAD: The direction of the dialogue between India and Pakistan is positive and we are exploring options to negotiate the settlement of Kashmir, Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri told Pakistan Television.
He said the Kashmir issue needed to be resolved to ensure peace in the region, without which Pakistan would not be able to attract investment.
Kasuri said that Pakistan was urging India to include Kashmiris in the process because it strongly believed that involving them would prove to be fruitful. “A U-turn on Kashmir is impossible,” said the minister.
He said the policy of constant engagement had started to pay off and Pakistan was no longer isolated. However, he denied the impression that US was pressuring Pakistan to hold talks with India.
“President Gen Pervez Musharraf analysed our situation correctly and took a right decision by actively participating in the war on terror. It was in the interest of Pakistan and not because it was towing in line behind the United States.”
“We look at issues on merit, being a front line state in the war on terror does not mean everything is being done under American pressure. Controlling terror is in our national interest to eliminate poverty,” he said.
He said that when necessary, Pakistan had maintained an independent policy on international issues like those in Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. “Pakistan didn’t agree to send troops to Iraq because of its own conscious decision. We were interested in peace in Iraq.”
Pakistan supported the Taliban to avoid bloodshed in Afghanistan, he said, adding that peace in Afghanistan was necessary for economic development and prosperity in Pakistan.
“Because of the Taliban’s rigid policies, a debate had already started in Pakistan to change its policy towards them,” said Kasuri.
He said Pakistan had progressed because of its participation in the war on terror. “During the last couple of years trade with Afghanistan has increased from $20 million to $1 billion.”
He said the $3 billion aid by the US showed its long-term commitment to Pakistan – a fact reinforced by Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally.
He strongly condemning the terrorism against Chinese nationals and said they would not harm Sino-Pak relations. “The terrorists are Pakistan’s enemies and wanted to scare the world from doing business with Pakistan.” app