Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday asked India to come forward for negotiations to resolve the Kashmir dispute so that there could be lasting peace in the region.
"We want to resolve the Kashmir dispute peacefully and invite India for negotiations, a gesture that it has continued to ignore," Gilani said in his address at an ‘iftar’ he hosted for Kashmiri leaders at the Prime Minister’s House.
Recalling his meeting with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit at Sharm-el-Sheikh in July, Gilani said he had then stated that there could not be peace in the region unless the Kashmir issue is resolved according to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
Without the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, peace in the region will remain a "far-fetched dream" and this has been acknowledged by the international community, he claimed.
Referring to his government’s decision to grant internal autonomy to Gilgit-Baltistan and criticism of the move from certain sections, he said the development "will not bring any change in Pakistan's principled stand on Kashmir".
The Kashmir dispute is the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy and the country’s stand on the issue is based on its founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s saying that "Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan", he said.