Lahore - Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Ch Muhammad Barjees Tahir said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to India would help resolve disputes between the two countries besides conveying a message to the international community that Islamabad wanted peace and cordial ties with its neighbours.
PM Nawaz is visiting New Delhi to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Indian Prime Minister-elect Narindra Modi.
Talking to this scribe here on Saturday, the minister said the visit would help open dialogue opportunity between the two countries to resolve Kashmir and other disputes. He said it is strong stance of the PML-N government that the Kashmir issue must be settled according to will of the Kashmiris and UN resolutions.
When asked about Narindra Modi who has aggressive stance on Kashmir issue, the minister said a politician thinks in a different frame of mind after he is given mandate by the people. He reminded that it was BJP Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who had visited Lahore in 1999 and inked Lahore Declaration which envisaged solution to all outstanding disputes including Kashmir through peaceful means.
However, he said, solution to Kashmir is must for a durable peace and stability in South Asia. He said that for a permanent peace in the region, the US should play a role of mediator as it did in the case of East Timor and Sudan.
The minister said that water issue is another core hurdle lying unresolved between Pakistan and India, and this might become a flashpoint between the two countries in future. As the both countries are nuclear powers, water issue must be given priority.
Former diplomat Syeda Abida Hussain said the visit would not fetch any broad results as PM Nawaz has to attend a swearing in ceremony and the ensuing summit meeting would be just traditional one without generating any far reaching outcome. She understood that the Foreign Ministry did not put its heart in the PM’s visit since Indian PM Manmohan Singh was also invited to come to Pakistan at the time of Nawaz’s oath taking but a cold response came.
Abida Hussain said in a situation when the India PM-elect has made so many promises with his people, it would be hard for him to promise anything with his Pakistani counterpart or go to extra length on the thorny issues. She viewed that Modi would give priority to correcting and improving his economy in the first place instead of settling issues with Pakistan.
To a question, Abida said given anti-Muslim track record of Modi, Nawaz’s visit to India will not leave a good taste at the popular level in Pakistan although it could serve some national interest. She said that more than any other, water issue with India is acute as water scarcity is going to hit Pakistan hard in the days to come. So Pakistan must settle water dispute with India on priority basis, she said while not undermining the value of sorting out Kashmir issue at the same time.
Former diplomat and political analyst, Javed Hussain while terming the PM’s decision to visit India an appropriate one said, it would help, in a big way, to understand each other on the longstanding issues between the two countries. However, these issues could not be addressed and make headway in a single meeting yet they would open up chances of being resolved through dialogue, he added.
Javed Hussain said both Pakistan and India needed to take confidence building measures, and the visit would be productive in this connection as they are living today in a different climate than the past. It will also help subside the tension occasioned from recent past incidents, he added.
When asked how the meeting with Modi, who has been known for the massacre of Muslims in Gujrat and his harsh stand on Pakistan, would give a good taste to the people on both sides, Hussain said in state relations, it is decided whether or not talks have to be given priority to settle down the issues laying between the two countries. Moreover, poverty, lack of resources for public welfare and other problems are the commonalities between the two countries which needed settlement through dialogues.
When asked that India has stalled process of composite dialogue over the years and how the summit meeting on May 27 meeting could produce any breakthrough, he replied that it is not in sight immediately as New Delhi has laid certain conditions for resumption of the composite dialogue but the meeting would certainly cast positive impact on that score. The meeting would inculcate the thought of looking forward to settle down the issues, he added.