PoK `PM` asks Pak govt to put Kashmir issue on hold for now
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 06, 2010, 14:21
  
Islamabad: In a major policy shift, the PoK 'Prime Minister' has advised Pakistan government not to link ongoing negotiations with India to resolution of the Kashmir issue, saying this is not the right time as Islamabad's position is "quite weak" due to "internal vulnerabilities".

Raja Farooq Haider suggested that Pakistan should first resolve "small irritants and controversial issues" before finally sorting out the "core issue of Kashmir."

He told 'The News' daily that Pakistan and India should maintain status quo on Kashmir for "some time."

He said he believed that India and Pakistan "should resolve other issues before taking up Kashmir."

It would be "wiser for Pakistan to wait for the right time to restart negotiations" on the Kashmir issue, Haider said.

He explained that he was giving this advice because he believed "this was not the right time for Pakistan to press for a Kashmir settlement."

At the moment, Pakistan is facing a "formidable security challenge from the militants" and is not in a position to effectively fight the case of Kashmir, he added.

Haider said that his comments did not mean a "reversal of Pakistan's traditional stand on Kashmir, as many emotional people might instantly try to infer."

"What I am trying to suggest is that this is not the right time to negotiate Kashmir with the Indians as Islamabad's position is obviously quite weak because of its internal vulnerabilities," he said.

Asked about former military ruler Pervez Musharraf's four-point proposal to resolve the Kashmir issue, Haider said no Kashmiri would have accepted it.

Haider backed the proposal to give the status of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) to India and to allow the country to use Pakistani territory as a transit route for trade, including with Afghanistan.

He also strongly backed India's inclusion in the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project.

However, he contended that the Pakistani media is not giving importance to the current protest in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pakistan government has been insisting that efforts to resolve the Kashmir issue must be made part of any dialogue with India.

On the other hand, India has said it favours a phased approach to the resumption of the talks process.

India has also granted MFN status to Pakistan, which is yet to reciprocate.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, July 06, 2010, 14:21


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