|Saturday, 19 July 2003|
Call for bilateral resolution on Kashmir issue
NEW DELHI, Friday (AFP) A visiting leader of Pakistan's radical Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) Islamic party asked Islamabad and New Delhi to resolve their protracted dispute over Kashmir without international mediation.
The call from JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman was a reversal of the hardline party's previous stand that there was little scope for bilateral negotiations over Kashmir between the two South Asian nuclear rivals.
"Kashmir is a big issue but both the countries have the Simla Agreement as a guiding principle to solve their disputes bilaterally," Rahman, who arrived in India Tuesday, told reporters in New Delhi.
He said the agreement, signed by India and Pakistan a year after their third war in 1971, stipulated that regional disputes must be resolved bilaterally.
JUI has in the past called for third-party mediation in the dispute, which led to two of the three wars between India and Pakistan since 1947, without naming a preferred arbitrator.
Rahman, heading a four-member delegation, condemned the separatist violence in Kashmir
"Let us work towards building peace in the entire region," Rahman said.
Produced by Lake House