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April 18, 2013

Pakistan wants meaningful talks with India: president

World

AFP
April 18, 2013

MUZAFFARABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday, while terming Kashmir an important segment of the composite dialogue process with India, stressed that any resolution of the Kashmir issue must be centred on the Kashmiris themselves.
In his address to the joint session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and the AJK Council here, the president said that for a durable resolution, Kashmiris must be associated with the dialogue process with India. He said Pakistan wants result-oriented and meaningful dialogue with India on the Kashmir issue.
The session was attended by AJK President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan and AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, the speaker and members of the AJK Assembly and AJK Council.
The president said Pakistan remains committed to finding a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people, adding: “The Kashmiris alone must be the principal beneficiaries.”
Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that the president reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong support to the cause of the Kashmiri people.
“We will continue to extend to our Kashmiri brethren, all political, moral and diplomatic support. My coming here and addressing this august gathering is a manifestation of this commitment,” the president said.
He said Kashmir holds the key to peace and progress in South Asia, home to one-fifth of world’s total population.He said Pakistan wants and needs peace with all its neighbours, adding that the resolution of Kashmir issue would pave the way to the normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India.
He said for over six decades, the Kashmiris had struggled to achieve their right to self-determination.“The force and oppression has been used against them, but their voice could not be silenced. It will never be,” he said, adding that life imprisonment will not deter the freedom fighters.
He said the ongoing protest movement was a new

chapter in the struggle of Kashmiri people.“The hanging of Afzal Guru through abuse of judicial process has further angered the Kashmiris.”
The president paid tribute to Afzal Guru by reciting a verse of Faiz Ahmad Faiz: “Jis dhaj say koi maqtal mein gya, wo shan salamat rehti hay - Ye jan to aani jaani hay, iss jan ki to koi bat nahi.” (The dignity and esteem with which a person approaches gallows is immortal. The life is a transitory phase, so it doesn’t matter to be or not to be.)
President Zardari termed the movement as indigenous and non-violent and said the unarmed Kashmiris, including women, children and youth, were demanding their right to self-determination.
He said international human rights organisations and even saner voices within India had been urging their government to give up the path of violence.He said Kashmir remains one of the longest running issues on the UN agenda and mentioned that the UN Security Council had recognised their rights.
However, he regretted that unfortunately the international community had yet to restore these rights.“The Kashmiris have paid in their blood for the failure of the international community. I salute the courage, the resolve and the determination of the Kashmiris,” he said.
He assured that Pakistan would remain firmly committed to its principled stance, based on UN Security Council Resolutions.He quoted Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s address to the UN General Assembly in October 1963 as saying that “Let the chain break, free the Kashmiris and have the friendship of Pakistan”.
He said Pakistan was committed to seeking a solution of the dispute through peaceful negotiations.He said no solution to the issue would be workable if it does not reflect the genuine aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The President quoted Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in her address at the 50th session of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on February 1, 1994, as saying that, “People cannot be suppressed indefinitely. Suppression cannot long endure. This is the lesson of history,” he added.
He said the democratic government had taken several measures to highlight the Kashmir cause and drew attention to the grave human rights violations in the held Kashmir.He said the Parliament of Pakistan had passed several resolutions expressing solidarity with the Kashmiri brethren.
He said a number of Kashmir related Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) had been agreed and implemented including border crossings, bus services and the start of trade across the Line of Control (LoC).
He expressed satisfaction that the CBMs had held despite the ups and downs in the Composite Dialogue Process.Zardari said Pakistan had been affected more by terrorism than any other country and was keen to deal with it at all levels.
He said counter-terrorism requires practical cooperation and terrorism could not be fought through blame game and hostile propaganda.“We believe that Pakistan and India should not allow terrorists and militants to dictate the agenda,” he stressed.
The president said the Interim Constitution of the AJK needed to be suitably amended to meet the requirements of the time.He called upon the AJK Assembly and Council member to take forward the process of the already initiated reforms. He urged them to consider adopting a unanimous resolution on reforms in the interim Constitution and assured that federal government of Pakistan would play its due role in this regard.
Addressing the Kashmiri People, the president said that Kashmiris are a nation and nation can never be defeated. People round the world take strength from the heroism of Kashmiri people.