Militancy will not help in resolving Kashmir issue: Khar

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 17:34

Islamabad: Striking a note different from the established line, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has spoken of the need for an "out-of-the box" solution to the Kashmir issue, saying that militancy would not help in resolving the long-standing dispute with India.

Khar, whose term will end on March 16 when the government completes its five-year term, made the remarks during a final brainstorming session with senior officials of the Foreign Office.

She impressed on the need for an "out-of-the box" solution of the Kashmir issue making it clear that "militancy would not help in resolving the issue while military power is also not an option", The News daily reported.

Khar, who served as Foreign Minister for two years, said India was not willing to talk about Kashmir at the moment.

"In these circumstances, trade and business with India is the best way forward. As trade and business grow, the people in India would force their government to find some solution of the problem and it is the only way through which we could get some relief for the people of Kashmir," Khar was quoted as saying.

She insisted that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf`s private visit to India last week to pray at a Sufi shrine "proved to be useful since it came in the wake of tense relations" between the two sides.

Khar argued that Pakistan was not so weak that it "could be browbeaten by the Americans so easily". She said: "We aren`t that weak. We know how to get things resolved on our terms. The Salala incident is a glaring example where we restored the facility for the Americans and its allies after obtaining an apology from Washington".
She was referring to Pakistan`s decision to close NATO supply routes to Afghanistan after a cross-border US air strike killed 24 soldiers in the Salala region in November 2011.
The routes were reopened last year after the US apologised for the incident.

Referring to the appointment of John Kerry as the US Secretary of State, Khar expressed the hope that he would be useful for Pakistan.

She told the officials that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took up the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project with her in almost every meeting but it had never been at the top of the agenda.

"Currently, the US isn`t taking it up seriously," she said. The report said Khar plans to return to running her restaurant business once she completes her term as Foreign Minister.

Khar owns the Polo Lounge chain of restaurants, which has outlets in Lahore and Islamabad.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 17:32

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