Kashmir issue test for India, Pakistan leadership, says Sharif

Muzaffarabad (Pakistan), Feb 5 (IANS) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday said Pakistan wants peace in the region and does not want confrontation with India, and reiterated that the Kashmir issue “be resolved” through dialogue.

Sharif was addressing a joint sitting of the legislature of the Pakistani side of Jammu and Kashmir on Kashmir Day.

“It is not possible that one part of the region should be prosperous and the other part in trouble (Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir). Peaceful solution of Kashmir is indispensable.”

“We want peace in the region. We are prepared to do each and every thing to this effect. We don’t want confrontation with India. Kashmir issue (should) be resolved through talks,” Sharif said.

The Kashmir issue is a test for current leadership of India, Pakistan and people of both the countries cannot prosper and progress until the lingering issue is resolved, the prime minister said.

“Difference of opinion between two countries is not unheard of,” Sharif said, referring to Pakistan’s differences with India over Kashmir.

“What is unusual is that for 6-7 decades, we have not been able to get rid of these differences,” he told the joint session.

“Unless we sit together and talk about these issues, they won’t be resolved,” Sharif said, expressing hope that the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue between Pakistan and India would see progress in days to come.

He said Pakistan has assured Indian leadership of cooperation on every issue, including terrorism.

“Pakistan is most affected by terrorism. Who wants eradication of terrorism more than Pakistan?”

Welcoming Nawaz Sharif, Speaker of assembly Ghulam Sadiq said the visit of prime minister of Pakistan to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir will further strengthen “our struggle against Indian occupation”.

Speaking on the occasion, ‘azad’ Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Chaudhary Abdul Majid lauded Sharif for taking a clear stance on Kashmir in the UN.

Sharif also announced assistance of 250 million Pakistani rupees (nearly $2.4 million) for development of the Pakistani side of Kashmir.

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