He said that while remaining steadfast in extending moral and political support to the people of Kashmir in their just struggle, Pakistan has always emphasized the necessity of a meaningful and constructive dialogue to resolve the Kashmir dispute peacefully respecting Kashmiris legitimate right to self determination in accordance with the relevant UN Resolutions. We have said time and again that rigidity and aggression must give way to accommodation and flexibility if indeed we are to find a durable and peaceful solution to the problem. We owe this much to the Kashmiris who have sacrificed and suffered so much.
The Foreign Minister said that it is with this in mind that President Parvez Musharraf sought to put forward his four step approach to finding a peaceful settlement to the dispute which calls for both parties to start the dialogue; accept the centrality of Kashmir; eliminate whatever is not acceptable to Pakistan, India and the people of Kashmir and arrive at a solution acceptable to Pakistan, India and the people of Kashmir.
He emphasized that the composite dialogue that commenced in February 2004 between Pakistan and India offers an unprecedented opportunity to achieve an equitable settlement of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspiration of the Kashmiri people.
He said Pakistan had asked India to work out mutually acceptable modalities to associate the Kashmiri people with the Composite Dialogue process. We have reiterated our position that the Kashmiris are a party to the Kashmir dispute and that any just and lasting resolution of the Kashmir dispute must take into account the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
The Foreign Minister reiterated that Pakistan had always held the position that the Kashmiris are the main stakeholders to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The recent visit by Kashmiri leaders from IOK to AJK and Pakistan is the culmination of our efforts for initiation of the wide ranging consultative process to associate the True Representatives of the Kashmiri people in the Pakistan-India peace process.
He emphasized that the commencement of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service has been in direct response to the demands of the Kashmiri people on both sides of the LoC. In deference to the wishes of the Kashmiri people, it was agreed that no passports or visas would be required for the crossing. This is a major step because it is a recognition by India of the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir.
He said Pakistan was ready to reverse the cause of confrontation in South Asia. We are pleased to note that the Kashmiri people have expressed their firm support for the initiation of the composite dialogue between India and Pakistan. We hope that the governments of Pakistan and India can live up to the expectations of their own people as well as the people of Kashmir so that South Asia can finally see the dawn of a lasting peace. He said this would enable the two governments to concentrate on the desired objective of poverty alleviation and human development, which will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for the people of South Asia.
June 29, 2005