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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 1, 2007
Kashmir, PoK unanimous on improving ties: Ghulam Nabi Azad
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Ghulam Nabi Azad

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Kashmir, PoK unanimous on improving ties: Ghulam Nabi Azad

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that people of India and Pakistan administered Kashmir are unanimous about improving and strengthening relations with each other.

New Delhi, May 1 : Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that people of India and Pakistan administered Kashmir are unanimous about improving and strengthening relations with each other.

"We want to improve relations between Kashmir and the PoK. We want to develop trade, tourism and culture, and both the sides are unanimous on improving and strengthening relations. And, the best thing is that both sides are equally desirous," said Azad after meeting Sardar Abdul Qayum Khan, the former Prime Minister and President of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Meanwhile, Khan, has told The Hindu, in an interview that a solution to the Kashmir issue is the promotion of peace, free movement, and trade.

Expressing disinterest in a public discussion of the specifics for a solution, Khan said: "There is a lot of dialogue going on now behind closed doors and, I think, it is best that these discussions stay secret".

"Even Sheikh Abdullah had proposed a kind of condominium proposal, involving India, Pakistan, and Kashmir. Some people seem to be talking about the same sort of things today," he said.

On the issue of making borders irrelevant in Jammu and Kashmir, Khan said, before agreeing on a border, it is important to take away the restrictions, to make the movement of people and trade across the border easier.

"The idea of irrelevance is meant to free up the movement of peoples and trade across both sides of Kashmir. Without doubt, we will have to agree on a border. However, we can begin dismantling restrictions prior to that decision," the paper quoted Khan, as saying.

Khan was in New Delhi to participate in a 'Heart-to-Heart' conference of leaders from both sides of the Line of Control (LoC), in an effort to restore peace in the Kashmir Valley.

He emphasised that the focus should be on dealing with existing problems like terror activities and the peoples' hardships, instead of the final status of Kashmir.

"The problem, though is that we have been discussing the final status of Kashmir for all these decades. Nothing has been achieved. So, let us forget about finality. Let us deal with the problem as it exists. One problem is jihadi activity. Another problem are the hardships faced by people in the day-to-day lives. Let us try to deal with these problems one by one," he said.

He went on to mention that any solution that would save the lives of Kashmiris would be acceptable.

"During a recent meeting with President Pervez Musharraf, I said that any solution that would save the lives of Kashmiris would be acceptable. Any solution," he said.

In his concluding remarks, Khan said, "Politics in our part of the world is based on suspicion and mistrust. People are always ready to believe the worst: it is our fitrat [basic character].

If anyone tries to do anything good, there are a dozen people poised to heap abuse on him. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is in this position. President Musharraf is in the same position.

In Pakistan, there are people shouting, `do not trust India.' In India, there are people shouting, `do not trust Pakistan.' Fine, trust no one. But accept that you must move forward.

We are neighbours. We cannot shift to some other neighbourhood. We can be good neighbours, or squabble endlessly".

ANI

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