What he terms as a step for lasting peace in the region, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday asked India to come forward for negotiations to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
“We want to resolve the Kashmir dispute peacefully and invite India for negotiations, a gesture that it has continued to ignore,” Gilani said.
He was speaking at an iftar party he hosted for Kashmiri leaders at the Prime Minister’s House.
Referring to his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit at Sharm-el-Sheikh in July, Gilani said that he had mooted the issue then and said that peace was not possible in the region unless the Kashmir issue was resolved according to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
He claimed that peace in the region would remain a ‘far-fetched dream’ without the resolution of the Kashmir and that this has been acknowledged by the international community.
Referring to his government’s decision to grant internal autonomy to Gilgit-Baltistan and criticism of the move from certain sections, he said the development “will not bring any change in Pakistan’s principled stand on Kashmir”.
The Kashmir dispute is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy and the country’s stand on the issue is based on its founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s saying that “Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan”, he said.