Thursday, 4 April 2013

Road to Kashmir through Sir Creek, Siachen: Hina
    Need to resolve Kashmir for India, Pak to coexist peacefully
    Islamabad has no interest or policy to infiltrate anything anywhere
    Have to trust each other to solve the problem on dialogue table
    War is not an option, am amazed at people who refuse to learn lessons

Srinagar, April 03: Former foreign minister of Pakistan, Hina Rabbani Khar has stressed on the need to resolve the ‘core issue’ of Kashmir for India and Pakistan to coexist peacefully.  The road map she defined envisages tackling confidence-building measures (CBMs) and issues like the Sir Creek and Siachen. In an interview with noted jurist and political commentator, A. G. Noorani for the Frontline magazine on February 26 before demitting office, Khar said, “We thought that Sir Creek and Siachen were very well placed, to begin with, to reach Kashmir. You know the road to a Kashmir settlement would have gone through Sir Creek and Siachen.” “I am very convinced that the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir and other territorial disputes between the two countries need to be resolved. And why do they need to be resolved? Because if they are not resolved, then what I call the naysayers and the warmongers will not lose their constituencies. They will still have ammunition to throw at us and to be able to ratchet up the tension and the rhetoric that we have seen in the past.”
About the impasse in the Indo-Pak situation and the steps needed by the two sides to lower the termpers, Khar said, “I can say that until about three months back, up to the last visit of Foreign Minister [S.M.] Krishna, we were fairly satisfied with the way things were moving because trust was building, we were able to have a deeper, saner conversation and we all agreed that we need it to get the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir resolved, and other territorial disputes resolved, for Pakistan and India to be able to coexist peacefully.”  “We have to start on that road of trust-building so that we can trust each other enough to be able to solve the problem on the dialogue table.”
Responding to Indian concerns about Pakistan’s role in infiltrations into Kashmir, she said, “I always say that we cannot deny the lessons of history. But we have to be future-oriented. In being future-oriented I can commit that the Government of Pakistan has no interest or has no desire and has no policy to infiltrate anything anywhere. We understand that Kashmir is a disputed territory. However, we understand that the road to solving the Kashmir dispute does not come through such behaviour. We are fully, fully understanding of it and are fully committed to that.” The former foreign minister ruled out was as an option between India and Pakistan. “I absolutely think that war is not an option. War should not be considered to be even a remote option; but our moving forward, not only to improving the atmospherics but also the trust between the two countries. But for that we have to play our own [respective] roles within our own country also.” “For instance, I think I might mention, even at the risk of repetition that the PPP government under President Zardari can take the credit for improving the atmospherics for India in Pakistan. We have improved and expanded the space for this government to be able to do an intensive dialogue with India within Pakistan. I think that is what leadership is, that you take the lead in expanding the space to do whatever you think is necessary.”
Stressing on the need to learn lessons of history vis-à-vis Indo-Pakistan relations, Khar said, “When we talk in terms of the future of this region and of India and Pakistan, I am amazed at people who have refused to learn the lessons from history. I am appalled at them and I look down upon them.” “I must say if we are going to be two nations which refuse to learn our lessons of history and continue to repeat the same mistake again and again and again and pass on the habit of making those mistakes to the future generations, then who is going to call us what is what I have asked myself. We have seen it ourselves, in 1965, 1971 and many other things here and there. Can we ask ourselves, have any of us been the better for that?”

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