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PPP will host national conference: Asif Zardari

11 March, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Former president Asif Zardari on Friday said the Pakistan People's Party will host a national conference of all political parties to reiterate the nation's united stand on the Kashmir issue.

"The present government is wavering and the political parties conference is intended to keep the momentum and build sustained pressure so that the Kashmir cause was not compromised," he told a delegation of Kashmiri leaders who called on him at Zardari House.

The leaders included Shah Ghulam Qadir, Rashid Turabi, Sardar Yaqoob Khan, Sardar Atique, Ghulam M Safi and Tahir Mashhood.

PPP Senators Farooq Naek, Sherry Rehman and Farhatullah Babar were also present.

"Any resolution of the Kashmir dispute must be based on the wishes of the people of Kashmir and the UN resolutions are a key to it. Any solution without taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiris is doomed to fail," he said. Condemned human right violations in Indian-held Kashmir and the use of pellet guns, the former president called upon the international community to take note of this.

The Kashmiris have risen for their rights and their voice could no longer be stifled by pellet guns and bullets, he said.

Zardari said violence and use of force cannot resolve anything and the only way forward for a fair, honourable and just settlement was to hold dialogue and take into account the aspirations and wishes of the Kashmiris.

Resolution of Kashmir issue is linked to regional peace and stability, he said. The former president said that it was grave mistake on the part of General (r) Pervez Musharraf when he secretly and unilaterally sought to barter away the Kashmir issue without reference to the Kashmiris and parliament. The reports that in May 2000 Musharraf agreed to ignore UN resolutions on Kashmir came to surface when a US State Department cable was declassified over a year ago under the Freedom of Information Act.

Zardari said that there was no conflict between seeking to normalise relations with India while at the same time remaining resolutely steadfast to the principled stance on the UN resolutions in resolving the dispute.

He recalled the warning given by slain PPP chairwoman Benazir Bhutto of the disastrous consequences of unilaterally giving up the principled stance on UN resolutions without a quid pro-quo. Zardari also called for increased development funds for Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. The Kashmiri leaders thanked the former president for his support to the Kashmir cause.

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