Efforts to remove differences between the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (AJKMC) are reportedly under way. Highly informed sources have revealed a few diplomats from Muslim countries are trying to restore working relations between the two parties.
The move has been confirmed by AJKMC president Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan. In an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune, the Kashmiri leader confirmed the development saying that his party believes in close working ties with PML-N “in the interest of Kashmir and Kashmiris”.
“An ideological understanding already exists between AJKMC and PML-N,” Attique pointed out. He added, however, saying that certain people in PML-N ‘with vested interests’ were constantly creating obstacles for mending the relationship between the two parties. The AJKMC president refused to share any further details regarding mending efforts.
Attique said a cordial relationship between PML-N and AJKMC was essential as national and global circumstances rapidly move towards the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
Despite attempts, Information Minister and PML-N spokesperson Pervaiz Rashid could not be reached for his party’s version on the issue.
PML-N and AJKMC developed serious differences when Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf assumed power after overthrowing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government in 1999. The PML-N leadership expressed serious reservations against AJKMC’s support for Musharraf at the time.
Attique maintained AJKMC’s support for Musharraf was based on principles and his party believed in a civil-military relationship.
Meanwhile, he wholeheartedly welcomed reports of diplomatic initiatives to normalise Pak-India relations. Attique who has also served as the Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, offered his party’s services to Prime Minister Nawaz for achieving the goal.
“We offer our services to improve diplomatic relations between Islamabad and Delhi.”
The Kashmiri leader also called for the participation of the Kashmiri people in the dialogue process between Pakistan and India.
“We want to act as a bridge between the two nations for peace-building measures,” he said. “An overwhelming of Kashmiris favour all efforts for close ties between Pakistan and India.” However, he warned that such efforts couldn’t succeed without involving the Kashmiri people.
He regretted that Nawaz, in his first speech as PM, did not talk about the festering Kashmir dispute. “Nawaz is an ethnic Kashmiri… as such the Kashmiri people expected his all out support for their cause,” Attique said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2013.