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India-Pak should work for peaceful solution to Kashmir, says Pak PM

By Rezaul H Laskar
February 06, 2010 04:42 IST
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India and Pakistan should end their "long legacy of hostility and distrust" and work towards a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Friday.

"There is an imperative need to end the long legacy of hostility and distrust and to work towards a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir," Gilani said in his address at an official function to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day. Gilani said Kashmir remained "an unfinished agenda" and "unfulfilled promises over the years have taken a heavy toll on the Kashmiri people."

The premier noted that India and Pakistan had had a "constructive" engagement under the composite dialogue process before the Mumbai attacks and "Jammu and Kashmir is an important part of that dialogue." "Unfortunately, in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attack, India has put a pause on the composite dialogue process. We have reiterated our desire to engage India in a meaningful and result-oriented dialogue for resolving all outstanding issues," he said.

Gilani pointed out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had agreed during a meeting in Sharm el-Shiekh last year that dialogue is the only way forward. 
Gilani said Pakistan believes that the Kashmiri people should be associated with the bilateral "dialogue process and the people of Kashmir should be the principal beneficiaries of this process."
The Kashmir issue, Gilani said, is the "root cause of tension in South Asia."

While extending moral and political support to the Kashmiri people, Pakistan has "always emphasised the necessity
of a meaningful dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue," he added.Gilani also stressed that the Kashmir issue should be
resolved in accordance with UN resolutions – a turnaround from the policy adopted by the regime of former military ruler
Pervez Musharraf. The Prime Minister also noted that several Kashmir-related confidence-building measures had alleviated
the sufferings of Kashmiris.Among them were the ceasefire along the Line of Control, opening of crossing points across the LoC to bring together divided families and trans-LoC bus services and trade.

"Greater interaction between Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC and visits to Pakistan by Kashmiri leadership from (Jammu and Kashmir) have been warmly welcomed by us," he said. Gilani reaffirmed Pakistan's support to the "just cause of the people of Kashmir". He added: "We shall always stand with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters for the realisation of their fundamental and inalienable rights. Together we shall succeed."

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad,
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