India, Pakistan were close to Kashmir solution: Kasuri

February 20th, 2009 - 12:15 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) India and Pakistan were close to reaching broad outlines of a solution to the Kashmir dispute but it could not happen due to “sheer bad luck”, says former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid M. Kasuri.
Kasuri also said there was a substantial understanding on a joint mechanism that would comprise representatives from the two countries besides both sides of the divided Kashmir.

The agreements could not fructify because of “sheer bad luck”, he told Karan Thapar on India Tonight programme on CNBC TV18.

Kasuri also said that Pakistan was hoping that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit Islamabad in 2007, but he could not find time due to the elections in Uttar Pradesh.

“Yes, you see…We wanted Kashmiris to be involved and India was not that keen, so we arrived at this modus vivendi that your Kashmiris would travel to Pakistan, our Kashmiris would travel here (India) and meet your leaders and your Kashmiris meet our leaders in an indirect form,” Kasuri said when asked about Track-II talks to reach an understanding on the Kashmir issue.

“We would have preferred a direct Kashmiri participation,” he added.

Kasuri was Pakistan’s chief pointsperson for talks with India during the rule of then president Pervez Musharraf.

Kasuri was invited by India’s Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar for the launch of his book “A Time of Transition” here Tuesday.

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