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India, Pak should have own roadmap: Jamali

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
July 16, 2003 14:58 IST
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Dismissing the West Asia type peace-model for Kashmir, Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has said India and Pakistan should draw their own roadmap and suggested a step-by-step approach for coming to the 'core issue'.

"India and Pakistan usually rely on the bilateral relations and talks although there is a third party, which is the Kashmiri people. That is the core issue and that could be the third factor or third party who is involved," he said in an interview to a Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.

In another interview Jamali was quoted as saying that he supported the idea of step-by-step approach to rebuild confidence between the two countries 'as long as the dispute over Kashmir was not forgotten'.

Observing that it is very difficult for Pakistan to give up the 'original principle, the Kashmir issue', he, however, said, "But we have to pave a way to come to the core issue."

Jamali said he was ready to hold talks with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee whenever the Indian leader felt comfortable.

"We have said throughout that dialogue is the best solution. Conditions are improving. The first instance was the appointment of the high commissioners and the second was the opening of the borders to bus travel. Now we look for more cooperation," he said.

Asked what would be the next step in improvement of Indo-Pak relations, Jamali said it would be resumption of flights between the two countries. "We would prefer to resume those than sports connections," he said.

He appreciated the outcome of the recent SAARC foreign secretaries meeting in Kathmandu in which India agreed to attend the next SAARC summit in Islamabad on January 4.

"I think it's very good progress; we appreciate India's approach and we're looking forward to that," he said.

The Pakistani prime minister said he was impressed by Vajpayee's commitment to peace. "That is why I feel confident," he added.

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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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