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Pak ups the ante on Kashmir's 'independence'

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 02, 2009 16:21 IST
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In a strident anti-India statement, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday asked 'occupying forces' in Jammu and Kashmir to stop repression. He offered Pakistan's "political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people for their right to self determination" and said the issue must be resolved through a "constructive and purposeful" dialogue with India.

"We also hope that Indian occupying forces will cease human rights abuses and violence will come to an end and a conducive atmosphere will be created for the final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute," Gilani said while addressing the 'Azad Kashmir Council' comprising representatives from governments of Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Claiming that the Kashmir issue "holds the key to durable peace in the region," he pointed out that the Pakistani Parliament has passed resolutions "expressing solidarity of the people of Pakistan for the people of Kashmir."

In their several statements, the top leadership of Pakistan "condemned the use of force and demanded respect for human rights of the people of Kashmir," Gilani said.

"These statements and resolutions are a true reflection of the sentiments of the entire Pakistani nation," he said. His comments came days after the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government assumed office for the second five-year term in India.

"Pakistan remains committed to finding a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people," Gilani said in his policy statement at the start of a new session of the PoK Council.

He said the issue must be resolved through 'sincere dialogue' in order to open up vast opportunities for the socio-economic development of the South Asian region. Pressing for resumption of the Composite Dialogue between India and Pakistan, Gilani listed the Srinagar- Muzaffarabad bus service and commencement of cross-Line of Control trade as the Kashmir-related confidence building measures implemented during the past few years.

The frequency of bus services between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad and Poonch and Rawalakot had been increased and cross-LoC trade had started, he noted. "These CBMs have been guided by our desire to reduce the sufferings of Kashmiris and (to) help to create an environment conducive for the settlement of this dispute," he said.

"Following the Mumbai incident, India has put a pause on the composite dialogue. Pakistan has stressed the need for engagement and resumption of the composite dialogue," he said.

"We have pressed upon India that focus of the efforts of the two countries should remain on countering terrorism which is the real issue and not mutual recrimination," Gilani said. He hoped that the peace process would resume soon and "become result-oriented in addressing all outstanding issues, including Kashmir."

"We firmly believe that for a durable solution, Kashmiris should be associated with the dialogue process," Gilani said. He said the 'indigenous uprising' in Jammu and Kashmir ignited by the Amarnath shrine issue last year had added "another sad chapter to the sufferings of the Kashmiri people."

"They were subjected to a prolonged economic blockade; their lives and properties were attacked. Many Kashmiris were martyred, including Sheikh Abdul Aziz, a prominent Hurriyat leader," Gilani said, adding these events reflected the 'indigenous struggle' of the Kashmiris for 'independence'.

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