PM`s J-K autonomy remarks: Pak says such measures won`t help

Days after PM Manmohan Singh expressed willingness to consider autonomy for J&K, Pakistan on Thursday said such measures would not help resolve the vexed issue and harped on "right to self-determination" for the Kashmiris.

Updated: Aug 12, 2010, 17:19 PM IST

Islamabad: Days after Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh expressed willingness to consider autonomy for
Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan on Thursday said such measures would not
help resolve the vexed issue and harped on "right to
self-determination" for the Kashmiris.

"It is important to first acknowledge and summon the
courage (to say) that the Jammu and Kashmir issue is there and
it can`t be addressed unless it is properly diagnosed and a
proper prescription is given," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul
Basit said at his weekly news briefing.
His comments came in response to a question on Singh`s
remarks that he was willing to consider autonomy for Jammu and
Kashmir within the ambit of the Constitution.

This was the first reaction from Pakistan to Singh`s
statement made during an all-party meeting in New Delhi on
Tuesday.

"We all know that the problem in Jammu and Kashmir
relates to their right to self-determination and unless and
until India recognises that and moves ahead in that direction,
we doubt very much that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will
settle for anything less," Basit said.

To another question on Congress MP and former Minister of
State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor`s reported remarks
about Pakistan exporting terror to Jammu and Kashmir and
creating the perception of rights abuses in the state, he said
the Kashmiris were engaged in a "legitimate indigenous
struggle" to get their right to "self-determination."

Describing Tharoor`s reported comments as "simplistic",
Basit said India should understand that the Kashmir problem is
an issue that must be settled according to the wishes of the
Kashmiris.

"This is a legitimate indigenous struggle which the
people of Jammu and Kashmir are continuing with and we are
confident that, sooner or later, they will be able to get
their right to self-determination," Basit said.
"I think the crux of the matter is that India needs to
realise that Jammu and Kashmir is an issue, (it) is a problem
which needs to be resolved and handled in accordance with the
aspirations of the people of Kashmir."

Referring to Tharoor`s remarks, made in the course of an
interview with Al-Jazeera channel, Basit said this was not the
first time that such comments and observations had come "from
across the border."

"You can keep on accusing anyone, you can apportion blame
on anyone. But unless and until you muster the courage to
acknowledge what is the crux of the problem, I am afraid it
would not be possible for anyone to address this lingering
issue to the satisfaction of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,"
he said.

Pakistan will continue "extending moral and diplomatic
support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to help them to
realise their legitimate aspirations," he said.

Basit dismissed as "ridiculous" India`s stand that
Pakistan is exporting terror to Jammu and Kashmir.

"Pakistan is committed not to allow its territory for
terrorist actions anywhere in the world. We expect others to
respect the same principle and adhere to this commitment as
well," he said.

PTI