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.


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

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