Pak rakes up Kashmir issue ahead of talks

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by JAYRAM, Jun 23, 2011.


    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

    Mar 8, 2011
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    North Frontier, The Mighty Himalaya's
    23 Jun 2011, 0834 hrs IST, AGENCIES

    Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao is in Islamabad on Thursday (June 23) to resume talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir. However, even before the process starts the Pakistani prime minister has sounded a discordant note by raking up the Kashmir issue. Despite Gilani's diversionary tactics, India's focus in talks will remain on terror and the 26/11 trial.

    The last time they met was in Thimpu in February, and today the India Pakistan foreign secretaries will resume their dialogue in Islamabad.

    But a day ahead of the crucial India-Pakistan talks that will feature the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said his country's future was "closely linked with the resolution of the Kashmir dispute".

    Gilani made the remarks while addressing a public gathering at Bagh in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where he was campaigning for his Pakistan People's Party ahead of elections to the local assembly.

    The premier assured the Kashmiri people of his government's "complete political and diplomatic support" till they attained "complete freedom".

    He claimed that the people of Pakistan and PoK were "two bodies and one soul in real terms" and have complete understanding on religious, cultural, ethnic, historical and geographical commonalities.

    Describing the Kashmiris and the Pakistani people "as an integral part of each other", Gilani said the resolution of the "Kashmir dispute" was at the core of the creation of PPP.

    Late former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto laid the foundation of the PPP as he had differences with military ruler Gen Ayub Khan on the issue of Kashmir. Gilani recalled that Bhutto had vowed to wage a thousand-year war to liberate Kashmir. The people of Pakistan are fully aware of the problems and difficulties of Kashmiris living across the Line of Control (LoC) and Pakistan will "continue its political and diplomatic support till their complete freedom", he said.

    Gilani said the PPP was "deeply integrated" with the people of Kashmir. He recalled an address of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto in which she asked India to stop alleged atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir, release political prisoners and end human rights violations, as with these practices there can be no meaningful resolution of the issue. He said the government and people of Pakistan were one in fighting terrorism and vowed to do everything possible to eliminate the scourge.

    However, This diversionary talk won't help because for India the key concern remains the terror originating from Pakistani soil. External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said, "I have said that terror is going to be one of the issues which will naturally be discussed with Pakistan. The whole region is terror infested and all issues concerning terror will be discussed."

    India has also not forgotten the 2008 Mumbai terror strike. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said, "The issue of terrorism which infests our region is of outmost concern. What Pakistan has been telling us in recent months and days is that Pakistan is seriously affected by this problem and that many Pakistanis have also fallen victim to terrorism."

    "However, when I referred to the issue of closure I was of course referring to the Mumbai terror attack. There is an ongoing trial in Pakistan that has moved rather slowly and when we talk of closure what we are implying is that justice should be done in this matter. Those who were responsible for triggering this terror attack and who conspired to attack our people should be brought to justice."

    For any closure on 26/11, Pakistan will have to punish men like Hafiz Saeed and Zaik-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. Pakistan will also have to look at ISI's terror links exposed by David Headley in the Tahawwur Rana trial. So even while Gilani may choose to rake up Kashmir, issues related to terror will top Nirupama Rao's agenda in the two day talks with Salman Bashir.

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