Pak-India trade acceptable to Kashmiris: minister
18 September, 2012
LAHORE: Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Manzoor Wattoo has said that people of Azad Kashmir have no objection on trade between Pakistan and India.
Giving a briefing after returning from a visit to India, the federal minister said that the people of Azad Kashmir are themselves carrying out trade worth Rs 15 to16 billion with the Indian-held Kashmir.
He said that India's politicians, public and media were in favour of trade and peaceful relations with Pakistan.
It is because of President Asif Zardari's vision that Pakistan will establish trade and cultural ties with India, without compromising on its stance on Kashmir, Wattoo said.
The minister emphasised the need for promoting Pak-India ties and moving them in a positive direction.
Both countries have to forget past irritants and unpleasant incidents for prosperity and well-being of the people, he maintained.
Wattoo said that he went to India on a private visit, but it was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a minister for Kashmir affairs had been given such a warm welcome.
He said that no government in Pakistan could set aside the issue of Kashmir.
"I told the Indians that there should be a plebiscite in the Indian-held Kashmir because the Kashmir issue could not be resolved without giving the right of self-determination to Kashmiris," he further said.
Wattoo said that Kashmir was a core issue, which needed to be resolved through tri-lateral dialogue, adding that no talks would prove fruitful without taking Kashmiris into confidence.