PoK `PM` asks Pak govt to put Kashmir issue on hold for now

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 6, 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 6, 2010 - 14:21

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