Pak welcomes Manmohan Singh's 'visionary' Kashmir offer

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Istanbul (Turkey), June 8 (ANI): Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that his country welcomed the speech given by Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

Talking to ANi on the sidelines of the CICA Asia summit here, Qureshi said: "I think the speech made by Prime Minister Manmohan singh was a very visionary speech. I welcome that speech in Kashmir and I think its a good offer we should welcome it."

It maybe recalled, that on Monday, Prime Minister Singh said that he and his government was ready to talk to any separatist group that showed a willingness to give up violence and the use of guns.

Addressing a public gathering at the Sher-e-Kashmir Agricultural University in Srinagar on the first day of his two-day visit, Dr. Singh categorically said that he was not ready to talk to any group that backs terror.

He further said that he was committed to ushering an atmosphere of peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir.

During the course of his address, the Prime Minister said that he would review the progress in the Round Table peace initiative and development work being undertaken in the state.

The Prime Minister also said that he was aware of some complaints related to human rights, and had asked the security forces deployed in the region to ensure protection of these rights.

"I am aware of some complaints related to human rights. On this issue, the government policy is to protect the human rights of the people even when dealing with terrorism," Dr. Singh said.

"The security forces in Jammu and Kashmir have been strictly instructed to respect the rights of the civilians. We will act to remove any deficiency in the implementation of these instructions," he added.

Reiterating that there were some elements and organizations only interested in fomenting trouble in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr. Singh praised the armed forces, and particularly the Army, for defending the country's borders.

The Prime Minister backed the Army's role, saying that it was doing a good job in defending the nation's frontiers.

He said the army has been forced to take action against elements who were determined to create instability in the state, including infiltrators.

He candidly admitted that in the process of this aggressive response to terror, innocents got trapped.

He said that his government is committed to promoting peace in Jammu and Kashmir, and ready to talk to any group that abjured violence.

It was Dr. Singh's second visit to Jammu and Kashmir after being re-elected as Prime Minister for a second consecutive term in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government. He visited Srinagar in last October. y Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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