All political parties in Pakistan are in favour of peace talks with India. This was said by former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri on Wednesday, said a press release issued by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) here on Wednesday.
“Not a single political party of Pakistan is against the peace process with India,” Kasuri said at a roundtable discussion organised by the institute.
According to Kasuri, the domestic socio-economic compulsions of both India and Pakistan have made them keen on improving their relations with one another.
“India cannot become a global power if it does not resolve its issues with Pakistan,” said Kasuri. He appreciated Pakistan’s decision, in principle, to grant the most-favoured nation status to India, but added that India also needs to remove the non-tariff barriers that the Pakistani exporters are facing.
He said that contrary to the general perception in the west, the army also supports the peace process. He added, however, that the approach of the military toward India has relatively hardened over the past few years because of excessive Indian involvement in Afghanistan.
According to Kasuri, the aspirations of the Kashmiris need to be considered for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. The first two things that the Kashmiris want are withdrawal of the Indian troops from the valley and a reversal of the efforts on the part of the Indian government to reduce it to a normal state under its constitution. He argued for a step-by-step approach for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute in view of the short and long-term aspirations of the Kashmiris.
IRS Senior Research Analyst Dr Shaheen Akhtar maintained that while Kashmiris and Indians are eager to see an improvement in relations with Pakistan, they are deterred by the political instability here.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2012.