Nawaz Sharif says `referendum` only solution to Kashmir issue

Former Pak premier Nawaz Sharif asked India to hold a "referendum" in J&K, saying it is the only solution to the vexed bilateral issue.

Last Updated: Sep 24, 2010, 21:59 PM IST

Lahore: Former Pakistani premier Nawaz
Sharif on Friday asked India to hold a "referendum" in Jammu and
Kashmir, saying it is the only solution to the vexed bilateral
issue.

"The Kashmiri people want independence from them
(India). They want to make a decision through a referendum.

India should take this opportunity and hold a referendum as it
is the only solution to the problem," the chief of the main
opposition PML-N told a news conference.

Sharif said the Kashmiris should be given the right to
lead their lives according to their wishes.

"India must read the writing on the wall," he added.

He called on India to hold talks with "genuine"
Kashmiri leaders to redress their grievances and to resolve
the Kashmir issue "with their consent".

"There will be no peace or stability in the region
without the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, which also has
been a reason for tension between Pakistan and India for
decades," Sharif said.

Indian leaders should realise that a peaceful
resolution of the Kashmir problem will enable both countries
to devote their energies and resources to economic growth,
development and elimination of poverty, he said.

"I have always advocated cordial relations between
India and Pakistan. The solution of the Kashmir dispute will
help bring peace to the region," he added.

PTI