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Musharraf to consider aspirations of Kashmiris

By Staff
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Islamabad, Apr 18: Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has stated that aspirations of the Kashmiri people have to be taken into account for a durable resolution of the Kashmir issue.

''Pakistan, believes a fair settlement of the lingering Kashmir issue would pave the way for long-term, peaceful relations between the two countries,'' he said.

''The historic opportunity created by the improved environment should be seized. In order to achieve this, all parties (Pakistan, India and the Kashmiri people) related to the issue have to show flexibility to realise lasting peace and prosperity in South Asia,'' Gen Musharraf told a Saudi newspaper, Al-Watan, while answering a question on the outcome of the current peace process.

Speaking on Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, Gen Musharraf said, ''Pakistan values close brotherly relations with Afghanistan.'' Referring to the signing of 12 new agreements in diverse fields and exchange of visits at the level of top leadership, he said, ''We have been able to develop a broad-base relationship over the past few years, and have a thriving trade and economic cooperation.'' About some recent problems in the security field, Gen Musharraf said, ''these do not mean deterioration in relations, as our ties are centuries-old, rooted in common faith and culture and are well set, to continue strengthening.'' ''Pakistan has deployed over 82,000 troops along the border with Afghanistan and captured over 700 Taliban and al-Qaeda members, while 600 brave Pakistani soldiers have laid down their lives in the war on terror,'' Gen Musharraf told the paper.

''The terrorists are on the run, they can no longer operate as a coordinated force. We believe that efforts from the coalition forces and the Afghan National Army are necessary for the complete success of the anti-terror campaign,'' he said.

UNI

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