Kashmir holds key to peace in region: Pakistani PM

June 2nd, 2009 - 4:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, June 2 (IANS) Pakistan Tuesday urged India to resume the sub-continental dialogue process, holding that the resolution of the Kashmir dispute “holds the key to peace in the region.
“Kashmir holds the key to peace in the region. It must be resolved sincerely through dialogue,” Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said while inaugurating the 43rd session of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council here.

Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council is the euphemism Pakistan uses for that portion of Kashmir it controls.

Noting that trade across the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir had resumed in spite of the “pause” India had effected to the sub-continental peace process in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage that New Delhi blames on elements operating from this country, Gilani hoped the dialogue would soon resume.

“Pakistan hopes the peace process will soon resume and will become result-oriented in addressing all outstanding issues including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir,” the prime minister said.

Gilani’s remarks are likely to be greeted with scepticism in New Delhi as they came on a day the Lahore High Court freed terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed, whom India has named as the mastermind of the Nov 26-29, 2009 Mumbai mayhem that claimed the lives of over 170 people, including 26 foreigners.

Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna immediately expressed disappointment over the court verdict, saying it pointed to Pakistan’s lack of seriousness in bringing to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

According to Gilani, Pakistan remained committed to finding a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

“We firmly believe that for a durable solution, Kashmiris should be associated with the dialogue process,” he maintained.

“We also hope that the Indian occupying forces will cease human rights abuses, violence will come to an end and a conducive atmosphere will be created for a final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” the prime minister added.

Alluding to the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, Gilani said: “We have impressed upon India that focus of the efforts of the two countries should remain on countering terrorism which is the real issue and not mutual recrimination.”

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