Pakistan again raises Kashmir, urges resumption of dialogue (Lead)

June 2nd, 2009 - 11:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, June 2 (IANS) Pakistan again raked up the Kashmir issue Tuesday, saying the key to peace in the region lay in its resolution. It also urged India to resume the composite dialogue process suspended in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai mayhem that New Delhi has blamed on elements operating from this country.
“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 the 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 and 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.

On his part, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in an interview to a private TV channel, hoped that “both countries will be back on track as disengagement will not benefit India.”

The remarks of the two leaders 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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