Asking Pakistan not to mix urgency with 'haste' in pushing its proposals of self-governance and demilitarisation to resolve the Kashmir issue with India, former External Affairs minister Jaswant Singh has said the two goverments needed time to 'reconcile their irreconcilable positions'.
"The sentiment that they (the two governments) seem to be bogged down is because of the distance that separates them in their respective positions and they require reconciling these. It naturally takes time. However, that should not generate impatience," Singh, who is currently touring Sindh province, told Dawn in an interview.
"It is not a circle in which we are going around. It is a line, there is a direction. Yes, we should have a sense of urgency about it, but don't mistake haste for urgency," he said. replying to questions about his stand on President Pervez Musharraf's proposals of self-governance and demilitarisation to resolve the Kashmir issue.
"My position is that we should not start running before we walk. It would be a great error. There is a process now set in motion, we are moving, slowly. We could move faster provided we learn first to walk slowly. The two countries of ours have suffered enormously. Let haste not bring more suffering on our people," he said.
About the Bharatiya Janata Party's views on the status of the current dialogue between the two countries, Singh said the party 'has been committed to and is the initiator of the process, because we are convinced that our two countries have to learn to live together in amity. To peace, there is no alternative. And if there is no alternative, then wisdom and good sense require that both of us work together'.
On his past assertions that Pakistan was a failed state, Singh said Pakistan, at one time, experienced a state of 'uncertainty' and such a situationapparently was changing with 'development' taking place due to policies of Musharraf.
"You have experienced a phase in Pakistan of great uncertainty when the people themselves were uncomfortable about what was happening. But what Gen Musharraf has brought about, and I see it with my own eyes, is development. Your economy has moved and people are relatively at much greater ease.
I have always said publicly in Parliament and then in mutual discourse that a Pakistan that is economically prosperous, socially at ease, politically having adopted a system that it is comfortable with, is good for Pakistan, is good for India-Pakistan relations, is good for the region," he said.
On the India-Pak peace process, Singh said both the countries need to make a constant endeavour to 'expand the constituency of peace' and hoped that his visit to Pakistan would have a positive impact on people-to-people contact and also possibly on improving bilateral trade relations.
He said his nine-day trip along with over 80 pilgrims to pray at his family deity, Hinglaj Devi temple in South West Balochistan, was intended to be a pilgrimage but he was astonished to see the receptions he was getting.
"It was intended to be and originated only as a pilgrimage. I am myself astonished at the reaction that we have generated and the great response of love and affection that all the pilgrims have received all along the route in Sindh as well as in Balochistan," he said.