Asif Ali Zardari backs Manmohan Singh on Kashmir

June 28th, 2008 - 3:20 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, June 27 (IANS) Pledging to dismantle terrorist cells, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari Friday told Indians gathered at a conference here that he agreed “with the statement of your prime minister supporting an autonomous Kashmir running much of its own affairs.” “A commission can be established between the two countries and leaders of Kashmir themselves to world out what should be done in foreign and defence affairs,” he said in a statement read out at a confernce on India and Pakistan, organised by the Tehelka media group.

In the dramatic statement - his first outlining the ruling party’s India policy - Zardari also promised not to allow slow progress on Kashmir to impede work in “other cooperative matters”.

Zardari said Pakistanis “agree that a very serious danger to the (India-Pakistan) peace process comes from militants and terrorists.”

“Therefore the challenge for us is to dismantle the militant cells so that they cannot hold the foreign policies of two independent nations hostage to their acts of terrorism.”

“Trade instead of conflict, ladies and gentlemen!” declared the widow of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto.

“The PPP has made trade, not conflict with India, a top priority of its relations with India…. Sixty years of freedom is a long enough period to mature us to change our direction dramatically,” he added.

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