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Map a mistake: Pak to separatist J&K leaders

The Pakistan High Commission had published a booklet showing Giglit and Baltistan as a part of Pakistan and no Azad Kashmir.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 18:50 IST
UK Bureau
UK Bureau

Zahid Nasrullah Khan, political councillor, High Commission of Pakistan, London had a detailed meeting with Dr Shabir Choudhry of the International Kashmir Alliance and Abbas Butt in which he explained the position of Pakistani government on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

He also clarified about a map which Pakistani High Commission had published in a booklet. It showed Giglit and Baltistan as a part of Pakistan and there was no Azad Kashmir and no LoC or anything to show that the Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory.

He said, "Publication of this map was a mistake and does not imply a change of Pakistan's Kashmir policy." "Pakistan has a traditional stand on Kashmir and we will continue to provide political and moral support to people of Jammu and Kashmir in their struggle for right of self determination," he said.

Khan, according to Dr Choudhry, blamed the printer for the error but acknowledged that it was High Commission's responsibility to ensure that everything was in order, "and we accept this mistake and apologise for this".

He assured the JKLF leaders that Pakistan, despite many problems, will continue with its support and will continue its dialogue process with Government of India.

The issue of the map surfaced when the JKLF leaders had a press conference in London to criticise Pakistan's change of heart on Kashmir a few days before the President Bush's crucial visit to South Asia.

They said Gilgit and Baltistan were not northern areas of Pakistan and that these areas are part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. They also said the entire state is disputed and is not part of Pakistan or India.

The two added the future of the entire state was yet to be determined and if Pakistan annex these areas that would encourage India to do the same. And division of Kashmir, JKLF leaders said, in any form or shape is not acceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The state is one political entity and must remain so whether it goes to India, Pakistan or becomes independent.

They told the Pakistani diplomat that Pakistan should also start a process of dialogue with Kashmiris leaders with diverse opinion on Pakistani side of the LoC, including leaders from Gilgit and Baltistan to discuss the future of Jammu and Kashmir.

They said there are puppets on both sides of the divide and they do not represent the true aspirations of the people, rather they misguide New Delhi and Islamabad and only represent their personal interest.

JKLF leaders also said Pakistan and these jihadi groups had to acknowledge changed international scene and that there was no military solution to the Kashmir dispute. Militancy, they said, would only "add to our miseries and problems and have to stop that the peace process could take its logical course whereby people of Jammu and Kashmir get an opportunity to determine their future without any fear or intimidation".

The JKLF leaders also said that India and Pakistan should not impose leadership on the Kashmiris through use of their media and funds. Best thing would be to provide people of Jammu and Kashmir opportunities to meet and they can decide who would be the best people to represent them in future talks.

They stressed Kashmir dispute was not bilateral in nature and could not be resolved through bilateral talks. A mechanism has to be worked out that Kashmiri leaders could also become part of this peace process.

First Published: Mar 04, 2006 18:50 IST