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Pakistan to build national consensus on Kashmir issue

Source: PTI
September 10, 2008 00:03 IST
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Pakistan on Tuesday said it valued the peace process with India, but it cannot ignore the prevalent situation in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, on which it intends to build a "national consensus".

The composite dialogue between Pakistan and India has been useful and Islamabad wants to remain engaged with New Delhi in a constructive manner, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a television news channel on Tuesday.

"Though Pakistan attaches value to the peace process with India, it has taken notice of the situation developing in Jammu and Kashmir," he said, adding, the Pakistan People's Party-led government has decided to consult all major political parties in the country on the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif was taken into confidence on the issue when he met PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Monday to congratulate him on being elected president, Qureshi said.

The government will set up a committee on the Kashmir issue in which every political party will get representation.

"We want to develop national consensus on the issue of Kashmir," he said.

Qureshi also renewed Pakistan's stand that the "core issue" of Kashmir needs to be addressed in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people to achieve durable peace in the region.

Addressing a news conference shortly after his swearing in on Tuesday afternoon, Zardari had said that the government would have "some good news" on efforts to resolve the Kashmir issue before the end of the month. Though, he did not give details.

Qureshi also said that a joint jirga between Pakistan and Afghanistan will be held next month.

"Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to initiate the jirga process and hopefully a joint jirga will take place in Islamabad immediately after Eid," he said.

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