We deem Simla Pact as binding: Wali Khan | india | Hindustan Times
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We deem Simla Pact as binding: Wali Khan

Asfandyar Wali Khan, the president of Pakistan's Awami National Party and member of the Pakistan Senate, is the grandson of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan. Asfandayar has measured up to his grandfather's rich political legacy by consistently championing the cause of peace in the subcontinent. He spoke to Vinod Sharma and Saurabh Shukla.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2003 02:29 IST

Asfandyar Wali Khan, the president of Pakistan's Awami National Party and member of the Pakistan Senate, is the scion of one of the most illustrious political families of South Asia. His grandfather, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, was a contemporary of Mahatma Gandhi. Asfandayar has measured up to his grandfather's rich political legacy by consistently championing the cause of peace in the subcontinent. He spoke to Vinod Sharma and Saurabh Shukla.

The ANP has been a consistent supporter of the 1972 Simla Pact, which most other political parties have sought to disregard. Why?

The pact was signed by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who had authorisation of the National Assembly of Pakistan, which also ratified it later. My father, Khan Abdul Wali Khan, and Mufti Mahmood of the JuI (now headed by his son Maulana Fazlur Rahman) were among those who had supported Bhutto at that time. The ANP and the JuI consider the pact to be binding till our Parliament decides to throw it out.

Maulana Fazlur Rahman has also supported peace talks between India and Pakistan, though he keeps company at home with rabidly anti-India forces like the Jamaat-e-Islami. Will he be able to sustain his stand?

It's a happy augury that he is supporting peace. In fact, the Maulana is not anti-India. He has always acted in accordance with the legacy of his father.

Can Pervez Musharraf be trusted to carry forward Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee's peace initiative?

I have always held that one should not bother about the medicine. What's important is the cure of the disease. What's true in daily life is applicable to relations between states. My colleague, Zahid Khan, is a former Senator and has been travelling to London in search of a cure for his diabetes. But since his arrival in India, he has found a homeopathic cure.

You have been a vocal supporter of what you call Afghanistan's freedom from the Taliban. But the Afghans have never accepted proxies. How then will they accept President Hamid Karzai, who is known to be an American prop?

I was recently in Afghanistan where I met a cross section of the leadership. Contrary to popular perception, there is no conflict between Karzai and the Northern Alliance. People there say they want aabadi (prosperity) after aazadi (freedom). Once the Afghans get a constitution, they will elect the leadership of their choice.

In your address here, you cautioned the Indian and Pakistani leaders against going in for talks with fixed mindsets. What exactly is your prescription for peace?

There can be no solution to issues like Kashmir if you continue calling it your atoot ang and we as our shah rug (jugular vein). When you sit to negotiate across the table you have to be flexible to arrive at an agreement.