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Pakistan links trade to progress on Kashmir

Pakistan speaks of the advancement in Indo-Pak talks and links free trade with India to the Kashmir issue.

business Updated: Apr 03, 2007 19:45 IST

Pakistan spoke today of the advancement in the Indo-Pak dialogue process but linked free trade with India to progress on the "core" issue of Kashmir.

"Trust deficit is reducing. We need to work together to reduce it further. We want to eradicate it completely," Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said in an interaction with the media.

Aziz who is here for the SAARC Summit, told the media during the hour-long interaction mostly covering bilateral ties, that "trade is linked to progress on Kashmir." The Pakistan Prime Minister's comments came in the backdrop of his country's refusal to implement South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) in relation to India, an issue that has been discussed in bilateral talks since last year.

As for the dialogue on Kashmir and other issues, Aziz said it was moving forward and the two countries are engaged in "public and not in public".

However, he refused to quantify the progress when asked to give a sense of the forward movement on the dialogue process.

"We are getting there... Things are moving. It is a process. We are moving step by step," he said.

Aziz repeatedly described Kashmir as the "core" issue, which needed to be resolved as per the wishes and aspirations of people of the state.

Asked who, in his view, represented the people of Jammu and Kashmir, he refused to get into specifics of "who represents Kashmiris".