Islamabad: Pinning hopes on the proposed visit of its President Asif Ali Zardari to India, Pakistan on Thursday said that the meeting between the President and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will contribute to intra-regional peace. (JPN/ Agencies)
However, it also made it clear that there would be no compromise on the ‘core issues’ like Kashmir and maintaining a credible nuclear deterrence.
"We are of the view that the upcoming meeting between the President and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over lunch will contribute towards achieving the President's vision to promote intra-regional peace and prosperity in this part of the world," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a weekly news briefing.
He said Pakistan is looking forward to a "constructive engagement between the two leaders" when Zardari travels to India on April 8 for a day-long private visit to the Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer.
Before travelling to Ajmer, Zardari is scheduled to meet Singh over lunch in Delhi.
Both sides have not provided any details about the agenda for this meeting though Basit said the two leaders "would discuss all the issues which continue to take priority in our bilateral relations".
"These meetings at the summit level are always very helpful but that does not mean that we have compromised on our principled positions on other issues, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute," Basit said in response to questions about Zardari's visit to India, the first by a Pakistani head of state since 2005.
The Kashmir dispute is a "core issue" between the two countries and Pakistan believes that its "just and fair settlement is a sina qua non for establishing viable and lasting peace in South Asia", he said.
"There is no question about changing our position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute," Basit added. Asked about the recent induction of a Russian-made nuclear submarine in the Indian Navy, the spokesman said Pakistan was "cognisant of the requirements to maintain the credibility of its deterrence".
"There is no question that we, for a moment, are oblivious to developments taking place in our region.
"Pakistan, under all circumstances, will maintain the credibility of its nuclear deterrence," he said.
Referring to the UN Special Rapporteur's report on Jammu and Kashmir, Basit said Pakistan agreed with the findings.
He said the international community was focussing on what he described as the "grave and serious" human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir and called for the revocation of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and other such laws.
He claimed the people of Jammu and Kashmir were campaigning for the "right to self-determination".
J-K parties hope talks will help ease travel norms
Political parties from Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday hoped that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit here Sunday would lead to easing of travel restrictions between two parts of Kashmir.
While the Congress and other parties hoped the visit would give a push to the dialogue process, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded that India should forcefully raise the issue of cross-border terrorism with the visiting leader.
The two leaders are expected to hold restricted talks before they sit down for discussions with their delegations.
Zardari's delegation includes Interior Minister Rehman Malik apart from close family members.
National Conference MP Shariffudin Shariq said the two countries should take steps to improve trade ties.
“There should not be restrictions on trade across the two sides. Confidence building measures should be strengthened. The Parliament delegations should go. Passport and travel norms should be eased,” Shariq said.
Islamabad: Pinning hopes on the proposed visit of its President Asif Ali Zardari to India, Pakistan on Thursday said that the meeting between the President and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will contribute to intra-regional peace.