Security advisers of Pakistan and India will take up all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, in their upcoming meeting, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said on Saturday.
Talking to reporters in Lahore, the minister dispelled the impression that the Kashmir issue was neglected during the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Ufa, Russia.
Read: Nawaz discussed all 'disputed' matters with Modi in Russia: Rashid
“The agreement to take up all outstanding issues at the security advisers’ meeting is an acceptance of Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir issue and victory of the government,” he said.
“Prime Minister Nawaz has raised the Kashmir issue at all international forums, including the UN General Assembly. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government has also raised the issue before the UN Security Council,” Rashid maintained.
“However, only a peaceful, secure and prosperous Pakistan can support the cause of Kashmir in a befitting manner. A terrorism-hit country cannot help Kashmir cause,” he added. In response to a question, Rashid held former president Pervez Musharraf responsible for weakening the cause of Kashmir at the international level. He said it was the Musharraf regime that linked Kashmir with terrorism.
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“Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had declared 1999 as the year of the resolution of the Kashmir issue in the light of the Lahore Declaration, which was our foreign policy success,” he said. “But, unfortunately that process was derailed by Musharraf’s coup.”
Talking to broadcast media, the minister reiterated that “all outstanding issues including Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek, water, violations on the working boundary and Pakistan’s other reservations will come under discussion” when the security advisers of Pakistan and India meet.
Replying to a question about the mention of the Mumbai incident in the joint communique issued after the meeting between premiers Nawaz and Modi, he said a number of people belonging to different faiths and nationalities were killed in the incident, following which the International community had the desire to punish the elements involved in the incident. Pakistan, he said, had time and again asked India to share evidence, if it had any, but India refrained.
“But now, India in the joint communique had agreed to share evidence with Pakistan and it is our victory,” he maintained. “Both sides agreed to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples,” the minister said while reading out a point from the joint communique.
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Rashid also pointed out that it was India that had suspended the composite dialogue and had now changed its stance regarding the process. “Pakistan still maintains its original stance, which is our success.”
Talking about the role of the paramilitary Rangers in Sindh in an earlier media talk, Rashid said the province’s government had extended full cooperation during the Karachi operation. He stressed that the federal and provincial governments were working in complete harmony.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2015.
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