“Pakistan willing to discuss all matters with India — Kashmir, Siachen or terrorism”
Islamabad, 24 April 2012. Amid calls for the demilitarization of the Siachen glacier, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday reiterated his government’s belief in finding a solution to all issues through dialogue.
Addressing a conference in the capital, he said: “I strongly believe that better sense will prevail on both sides and we will resolve these issues through dialogue.”
Of the view that the “era of wars” is over, the premier said Pakistan was willing to sit with India and discuss all matters: be it Kashmir, Siachen or terrorism. It is in pursuit of this policy that he took the initiative and met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at an international conference, he pointed out.
In a related statement in Lahore on Sunday, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan called for demilitarization of Siachen but differed with political rival and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s contention that Pakistan should take the initiative in withdrawing troops from the glacier that is the world’s highest battlefield.
Ever since an avalanche buried 135 soldiers of the 6 Northern Light Infantry in the Gayari sector of Siachen on April 7, demands for demilitarization of Siachen have gained currency within Pakistan with even the Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani weighing in. But the majority opinion is against a unilateral withdrawal by Pakistan with President Asif Ali Zardari himself speaking against it last Friday.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik — who is on a visit to Pakistan — said in Lahore that his organisation would step up efforts to resolve the Kashmir issue with or without Pakistan’s help.
Apprehensive that the Kashmir issue was being put on the backburner, he expressed disappointment with India and the international community for their apathy; warning that Kashmiris would be forced to take up arms again if the two countries failed to resolve the issue.