Islamabad, June 23 : PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has said that the views of the Kashmiri leadership would be kept in mind during the forthcoming talks with India.
He told this to reporters after a meeting with leaders of the All Parties' Hurriyat Conference (APHC) led by its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
The Hurriyat team is visiting Pakistan at the invitation of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi for consultations with the Pakistan government ahead of his visit to New Delhi on June 27. Qureshi will be visiting India on the invitation of its External Affairs Minister and the two leaders will discuss several issues, including CBMs across the Line of Control and on making some of the previously agreed upon CBMs more effective.
The APHC leaders also met Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani, who assured them that the government was committed to supporting the struggle of the Kashmiris and determined to seek a peaceful settlement of the "core issue" keeping in view the aspirations of the people of Kashmir.
Zardari said his party and the Hurriyat shared a "bond of blood" as PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had once said that the party's existence "starts with the Kashmir issue". "The PPP will adhere to the philosophies of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto and is bound to follow them. We can't deviate from them," the Dawn quoted him as saying.
A joint communique issued after the meeting said that the relationship built up between the APHC and PPP would be maintained and strengthened. They agreed to take steps to promote people-to-people contacts between the two parts of Kashmir, especially exchanges of students, youth, lawyers, representatives of the people and leaders of political parties.
"The PPP is with Kashmiri people and will support their struggle. The APHC is the representative organisation of Kashmiris," said the communique.
Speaking on the occasion, the APHC chairman called on the Indian government to do more to resolve the Kashmir dispute. "If the Kashmir issue is to be resolved through dialogue, it is clear that one cannot clap with one hand. Just as the Pakistani leadership has shown flexibility and the Kashmiri leadership is prepared to move forward, the Indian government has to change its policy of stubbornness and rigidity," he said.
He also said that the Hurriyat wanted a solution to the problem to be found through dialogue. "We hope that the Indian government, while taking advantage of the situation, will come forward to resolve this issue because Kashmir is not an issue about territory or politics. It is an issue of humanity and tens of millions of people are affected by it," added Mirwaiz.