Pakistan wants `just settlement` of Kashmir issue: Zardari

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 23:04

Islamabad: Pakistan wants a "just
settlement" of the Kashmir issue with India in accordance with
UN resolutions and the "aspirations" of the Kashmiri people,
President Asif Ali Zardari said on Tuesday.

"Full spectrum dialogue process has been resumed with
India. We seek a just settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir
issue in accordance with the UN resolutions while respecting
the aspirations of the people of Kashmir," Zardari said in his
address to a joint sitting of the two houses of parliament.

Zardari, who created history by becoming the first
civilian President to address joint sittings of parliament for
the fourth consecutive year, dwelt on several foreign policy
issues but made only a brief mention of Pakistan`s relations
with India.

The two countries recently agreed to revive a peace
process that was stalled in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai
attacks, which were blamed on the Pakistan-based
Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group.

Zardari said Pakistan`s foreign policy is aimed at
advancing the country`s national security and promoting peace
and an economic agenda while safeguarding national dignity,
sovereignty and independence.

"We seek trade, not aid," he said.

Pakistan`s relations with Afghanistan have "undergone
a sea change" while ties with Iran too have improved, he said.

"With the United States, we remain committed to
building a long-term partnership based on mutual respect,
mutual interest and sovereign equality," he said, without
making any reference to recent strains in ties with the US
caused by the standoff over CIA contractor Raymond Davis.

Davis, a former Special Forces soldier, was arrested
in Lahore in January after he shot and killed two armed men.

He was pardoned and freed by a court after he paid
over two million dollars as "blood money" to the families of
the dead men.

Zardari said Pakistan`s strategic cooperation with
China continued to "grow from strength to strength".

The country has also engaged the European Union at the
summit level for the first time, he said.

"Long term cooperation with the UK, France, Germany,
Italy and Spain has helped advance our economic agenda," he
added.

Pakistan has also upgraded its relations with Japan to
a "comprehensive partnership for peace and development,"
Zardari said.

Expressing sadness at the tragedy unleashed by the
recent natural disaster in Japan, he conveyed the sympathy of
the people of Pakistan.

"The tragedy has also brought into focus environmental
issues connected with nuclear energy," he said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 23:04

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