Ahead of President Asif Ali Zardari's key talks with his American counterpart Barack Obama at the White House, Pakistan today said the US should facilitate a solution to its Kashmir issue with India.
Maintaining that the Mumbai attacks and the 2007 bombing of the Pakistan-bound Samjhauta Express had created problems in normalising Indo-Pak relations, Pakistan's envoy to the UN in Geneva, Zamir Akram, told reporters here: "Unfortunately the momentum has been lost."
Asked what kind of gesture Pakistan was expecting from the US, Akram said: "Something that Mr Obama promised when he was a candidate for President but abandoned when he became President, that is, facilitate the solution to the Kashmir dispute." "That's the gesture that the administration itself said it wanted to take and they should follow up on it," he added.
He, however, said the Kashmir problem "can only be solved by people of Kashmir, India and Pakistan," arguing that "we need to go to the roots of the problem and develop common policies." His comments came ahead of President Zardari's talks with Obama at the White House later today.
On Afghanistan, Akram said Pakistan must be part of efforts to strike a political solution in the war-torn country, rather than being told to eliminate terrorists on its soil along the Afghan border. "What you are asking us to do is to pull your chestnuts out of the fire and be the bad guys.
So we kill them while you talk to them," he said. Akram said the Taliban were part of native Pashtun tribes along the Pak-Afghan border region and simply killing them was not viable "because we have to live with these people in the future." "It is absolutely essential for us that we be part of this approach that is where you bring a political solution to Afghanistan and not be part of only a military approach," he said. "That's where the crux is."