Pak rakes up Kashmir issue at SAARC meet | india | Hindustan Times
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Pak rakes up Kashmir issue at SAARC meet

india Updated: Jul 11, 2006 20:03 IST
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Pakistan on Tuesday raked up the Kashmir issue at the SAARC Finance Ministers' meeting here with India hitting back by voicing concerns on terrorism and stressing the need to remove "double standards" in mounting a collective challenge to "eliminate the scourge".

"There is need to resolve all outstanding issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir and find a just and durable settlement of the issue in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir," Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said inaugurating the first formal meeting of the SAARC Finance Ministers here.

He said the success of the peace process would help improve the atmosphere and auger well for the region in bringing new synergy to SAARC.

The member states of SAARC must demonstrate commitment, flexibility, magnanimity and leadership to resolve the outstanding issues, Aziz said.

Ever since the bilateral peace process started, Pakistan has not been raising Kashmir in SAARC fora and Aziz's decision to speak about it at the SAARC Finance Ministers' meet apparently marked a shift in Islamabad's policy.

In his speech, Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal hit back pointing to the decision taken at last year's Dhaka SAARC summit where cooperation in counter-terrorism was a major theme.

"There was strong condemnation of terrorism in the Summit Declaration and renewed commitment to eliminate this scourge, both from the region and the world. There can also be no double standards in tackling this collective challenge," he said.