Gillani assures Hurriyat leaders support on Kashmir issue

June 23rd, 2008 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, June 23 (IANS) Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yousauf Raza Gillani Monday told a Hurriyat delegation from India’s Jammu and Kashmir that his government was committed to supporting the just struggle of Kashmiris and was determined to seek a peaceful solution of the issue in keeping with the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. “We will continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to the cause of Kashmir until a just and honourable settlement of Kashmir is reached as per the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” he said in a meeting with delegation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC).

The delegation, led by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, is here on a special invitation from Gillani. It will also hold talks with other leaders of Pakistan during their visit.

“Kashmir remains the core issue between the two countries and Pakistan will never accept any solution of the issue unless the people of Kashmir accept it and are fully on board,” state-run APP wire agency quoted the prime minister as saying.

He said Pakistan was convinced that any settlement that does not have the backing of the Kashmiri people will not be durable and sustainable.

“We look at the struggle by the Kashmiris with great admiration and their untold sacrifices for a just solution of the Kashmir dispute will not go in vain,” he said.

The prime minister said that during his recent meeting with US President George W. Bush, he took up the Kashmir issue with him and he (Bush) agreed that the time has come to resolve this issue.

He said he also discussed the Kashmir issue in detail with Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to Pakistan last month and underlined the need to resolve it in keeping with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

While thanking Pakistan for its support to the “cause”, the Mirwaiz referred to the state assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir due by September, adding: “We do not recognize elections as a substitute for our right of self-determination.”

He, however, said the APHC supports the peace process between Pakistan and India and the confidence-building measures taken by them. The Hurriyat leader emphasized the need to accelerate this process in order to reach a just solution of the Kashmir issue.

He also informed the prime minister of the efforts being made by the APHC to forge unity in their ranks.

APHC leader Abdul Ghulam Bhatt also thanked Gillani for Pakistan’s support. Peoples Conference chairman Bilal Ghani Lone attended the meeting. Senior Pakistan foreign ministry officials were also present.

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