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Azad sceptical about Pak's Kashmir stand

The J&K CM says that Pakistan has been saying different things to different people at different times, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 22:17 IST
Arun Joshi

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Tuesday that President Musharraf’s latest statement - that Pakistan is “prepared to give up its stand on Kashmir” - would be effective onlyif it is followed up with consistency and sincerity of purpose.

“We will have to watch carefully how it crystallises in the future. This is like one of the prescriptions on Kashmir solution that have come from across. It needs to be studied, for there have been many such proposals in the past too,” Azad told Hindustan Times in an interview.

Azad said that Pakistan has been saying different things to different people at differenttimes. It has been stating something to the media, something else to Hurriyat leaders, and yet something different at the international fora.

“All these matters can be addressed only through a consistent diplomatic approach. President Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have been talking to each other and it is clear to one and all that this is not a problem between two individuals but between two countries.”

According to him, the problem resolution process is on. Foreign-Secretary-level talks are underway, Foreign ministers of both nations are meeting and Indo-Pak summits are taking place. That will show a way out, said Azad.

Azad, who has initiated the process of the working groups, also disclosed that the groups could deliberate on all the issues that Musharraf has raised. “After discussions, if those issues are found practicable, they may be implemented, though not necessarily in the same frame.”

But he cautioned against any proclivity toward short cuts. “There are no short cuts; Kashmir is a complex issue and any attempt to resort to short cuts would further complicate the issue and throw up more problems than solving them.”

“Whatever the solution emerges should be acceptable to both the countries (India and Pakistan) and also to political parties and people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

He said that the UPA Government has, since the past two years, taken several initiatives. It has been talking to Pakistan, ethnic, political and regional groups and separatists, as well, such as All Parties Hurriyat Conference. There is a movement forward.

Azad said that the time has come that all political parties - national or regional - and separatist organisations should wake up to the fact that “The People of Jammu and Kashmir cannot afford to have perpetual exploitation of their sentiments for decades together.

He said that the “time has come when all groups should be truthful and practical, and their solution should be based on facts." He further added that the solutions should "first be acceptable to all the three regions of the state, and then to the two countries."

“No political party should put forward any solution or formula in isolation, without taking into account the sentiments of all three regions of the State, and no solution should be aimed at playing to galleries or for cheap publicity," he said. “The key," he added, "would be sincerity and seriousness and consistency in the words of Pervez Musharraf.”

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First Published: Dec 05, 2006 22:17 IST