B. Muralidhar Reddy
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said India and Pakistan must move beyond simple confidence-building measures to "substantive dispute resolution" of the Kashmir issue to achieve "sustainable peace" in South Asia.
"India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri people must show courage, leadership, magnanimity, flexibility and a passion for peace in order to find a credible and lasting solution to the question of Jammu and Kashmir," he told a news conference at the U.N. Headquarters in New York on Friday/Saturday.
Mr. Aziz, on a weeklong visit to the United States, spoke to the press after "comprehensive" talks with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Replying to queries, he said Kashmir was the "core" issue, which must be resolved to allow India and Pakistan to move forward on other fronts, according to the official news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan.
Expressing concern over "violations" of human rights in Kashmir, Mr. Aziz said any solution to the issue must reflect the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
"Without that we do not feel we can find a sustainable solution." Pakistan wanted peace with all neighbours including India. It had made "strenuous efforts" to engage in confidence-building measures and peace process. But the relations were "mired in conflict." At the core of "our relationship is the issue of Jammu and Kashmir" and "we are attempting and working towards finding a solution."