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J&K government welcomes Zardari's remarks

Source: PTI
March 03, 2008 16:56 IST
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Asif Ali Zardari's remarks that the Kashmir issue should be put on the backburner drew mixed reactions on Monday with the ruling Congress-PDP coalition in Jammu and Kashmir saying it was positive but separatist leaders voiced their dismay.


The comments by the co-chairman of the PPP, which will head a planned coalition government, was also slammed by Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) whose former chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed claimed it was "tantamount to rubbing salt in the wounds of the Kashmiri people".


Zardari, husband of slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, said last week Indo-Pak relations should not be held hostage by Kashmir dispute and that he was ready to focus on other issues.


"We welcome (Zardari's) positive and realistic remarks. I hope the emerging democratic set up in Pakistan will focus on strengthening ties with India," senior vice-president of the Jammu and Kashmir Congress Abdul Gani Vakil said.


A stable Pakistan was in the interest of the entire sub-continent, he told party workers.


Vakil, who is the Social Welfare Minister, said people were concerned more with economic issues and wanted peace for progress and prosperity.


Welcoming Zardari's remarks, Deputy Chief Minister and senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh said there was a need to open up road links between India and Pakistan.


This would facilitate thousands of tourists from South Asia to visit Kashmir, he said.


Separatists, on the other hand, flayed Zardari for his remarks with leaders of the JKLF and both factions of the Hurriyat Conference saying it reflected his political immaturity.


Outlining LeT's position, Saeed said Pakistanis will reject any government that overlooks the Kashmir dispute.

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