ISLAMABAD: With Pakistan Army Chief having recently stated that Pakistan wants a resolution to the Siachen issue, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar pointed out to BBC Urdu that the biggest hurdle in resolving the icy issue were armies of both Pakistan and India.
In an interview to the Urdu-language version of the British news service, Mukhtar said that both Pakistan and India would stand to benefit from resolving the Siachen issue.
In response to a question, he said reminded that Siachen was Pakistan territory and when India claimed it was theirs, Pakistan responded. However, he said that the only way to coexist was to sit at the table, discuss the matter. He pointed out that neither Pakistan nor India stood to gain anything from the stand-off on world’s highest battleground, rather it more to satiate respective egos. However, it remains to be seen what does this cost both sides.
“We think we can come to an agreement. India wants to talk on the Sir Creek issue first, we want to talk about Siachen first – the same issue of egos.”
“I think Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Pervez Kayani understands this issue better than all of us and will help reach a decision when the time comes.”
When asked that he, being the Minister for Defence, was higher placed than the Army Chief, would he then allow a rank subordinate to take a decision, Mukhtar said that ‘Kayani would offer guidance – support, just as the government cooperates and supports the army.’
When asked if Pakistan wants a solution, why does it not make the first move (withdraw unilaterally), Mukhtar responded that India was a big country, and Pakistan expects that it would demonstrate magnanimity by making the first move.
In response to another question, he said that Prime Ministers of both countries, Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan, and Manmohan Singh of India, wanted to resolve the Siachen issue via dialogue.
When asked that since the governements of both India and Pakistan wanted a resolution, what was stopping them, the Defence Minister smiled and said that the hurdles were in what had been talked about earlier, the armies of both countries.
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