Peace, security vital to South Asian development, says Kasuri
LONDON: Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri said on Monday that peace and security in South Asia were vital to the economic development and prosperity of the region.
He was making his opening remarks at the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee meeting here on Monday. The committee is headed by MP Donald Andesron. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Dr. Maleeha Lodhi was present on the occasion.
Mr Kasuri said Pakistan appreciated “the efforts of the British leadership to defuse tension in South Asia and we would like to see the UK play a role in defusing tensions towards the solution of the Kashnmir issue, hopefully leading towards a solution”. “We are convinced that unconditional talks are the only way to reconcile differences on the Kashmir dispute between the two countries”, he said.
He said there could be no durable peace without addressing the wishes of the people of Kashmir. “That is why an enlightened sense of national interest guides our policy of seeking peaceful relations with India,” he said.
Mr Kasuri said “we wish to resolve all outstanding disputes with India through sustained and result-oriented dialogue on the core issue of Kashmir as well as issues of concern to both countries”.
Pakistan deeply valued its relations with Britain and hoped the friendship would grow over the years. He said Pakistan supported the Bonn Agreement and the Karazai government. He said Pakistan believed it was essential to have a broad-based government in Afghnaistan which represnted the entire ethnic spectrum. A sense of deprivation among Pukhtoons was creating serious problems for Pakistan since Afghan refugees found it difficult to return to their own country, Mr Kasuri said.
On the political situation in Pakistan, he said the government was determined to build a dynamic, tolerant, progressive and genuinely Islamic society. He said regionally and internationally “we wish to be a force for peace and stability and a reliable partner of the world community”. He said Pakistan would remain a key member of the global war against terror until “our shared objectives are carefully met and terrorism is eliminated.”
He said while world leaders asserted that the effort to eliminate terrorism was not directed against any religion or a people, there was nonetheless concern among Islamic nations for the emergence of widespread prejudice and xenophobia. —APP