Zardari favours setting Kashmir issue aside

March 1st, 2008 - 11:02 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Nawaz Sharif

Islamabad, March 1 (IANS) Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, whose party is set to led the country’s next government, has said the Kashmir issue should be set aside to focus on other aspects for improving relations with India. “The idea is that we feel for Kashmir, the PPP has always felt for Kashmir. We have a strong Kashmir policy. We have always had one,” he said.

“But having said that, we don’t want to be hostage to that situation. That is a situation we can agree to disagree (on). Countries do, we have positions, you have positions. We can agree to disagree on everything,” Zardari told Karan Thapar in a TV interview for the programme Devil’s Advocate to be telecast on CNN-IBN.

Noting that the two neighbours can “agree to disagree on (the UN resolutions),” he said: “We can wait. We can be patient till everybody grows up further. Maybe the coming generation grows up even further and then let’s interact as human beings and come to a position of love.”

Asked if his party, which won the highest number of seats in last month’s general elections, would be willing to put aside the Kashmir issue just as India and China had set aside their border dispute to focus on other aspects of their ties, Zardari said: “Exactly.

“As it is, it’s going to be a no-border world in the end.”

Asked about the Charter of Democracy the PPP and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) signed in 2006 committing both to resolving the Kashmir imbroglio in line with UN resolutions, Zardari said: “I am not getting hostage to that issue”.

Instead, he favoured improving ties in other sectors including trade and industry.

“People-to-people contacts should be improved, then trade, inter-dependence of trade, if Indian industry depends on Pakistani energy and I depend on the Indian market for my product to be sold, we are both inter-dependent, financially integrated industry-wise,” said Zardari, husband of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

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