Kashmir solution vital for region: Pakistan
The settlement of the Kashmir issue is vital for regional peace, Pakistan's president said.
The settlement of the Kashmir issue is vital for regional peace, Pakistan's president said on Tuesday.
President Asif Ali Zardari said regional peace was inextricably linked to the settlement of the decades-old dispute over the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir which both Pakistan and India claim in full but rule in part.
"As world attention is on Pakistan, then together with Pakistan, the world has to talk about the Kashmir problem as well because only then can peace be brought to the region," Zardari said in a address to Pakistani Kashmir's legislature.
"We cannot delink regional peace from peace in Kashmir ... we have highlighted this thinking in the world and will keep projecting it."
India suspended a five-year-old peace process with Pakistan after an assault on the Indian city of Mumbai by Pakistan-based attackers in November 2008.
The Himalayan region is at the heart of a decades-long dispute between India and Pakistan, who have fought two of their three wars over the issue since they won freedom from British rule in 1947.
Kashmiris see India as an "occupier" and accuse the ruling of systematic violations, killing dozens of civilians in Himalayan region.
Tens of thousands of Muslims have been killed since pro-independent moves grew against Indian rule in 1989.
In 1948, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling for a referendum for Kashmir to determine whether the Himalayan region should be part of India and Pakistan. But India has rejected to hold referendum in Kashmiri territory.
Pakistani and Indian leaders and senior officials have met several times on the sidelines of international gatherings but India insists Pakistan must take forceful action against suspected armed groups before talks are resumed.
Pakistan has acknowledged that the Mumbai assault was plotted and partly launched from its soil and is prosecuting seven suspects in a closed-door hearing.
Zardari said Pakistan and India, which have fought three wars since their independence from British rule in 1947, should learn to live in peace.
"We know that we cannot change our neighbours but they should also know that they can also not change their neighbours."
India rejects outside involvement in the Kashmir dispute despite Kashmiris wants a international solution.
Reuters Last Mod: 05 Ocak 2010, 23:45