ISLAMABAD: Neither the Simla Accord nor the Lahore Declaration has revoked undertaking by India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the United Nations (UN) resolutions, says chairman of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N), Raja Zafarul Haq.
Speaking at a news conference with the party’s media coordinator Asim Khan at the PML-N’s Secretariat, Mr Haq rejected the statement of Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid that Kashmir was an integral part of India and that the dispute was a bilateral issue.
Mr Haq ruled out the much-talked about option of finding an “out of the box solution” to the Kashmir dispute, saying any such attempt would open the Pandora’s box.
Mr Haq held the news conference a day after the Foreign Office reacted strongly to the Indian minister’s statement and asked New Delhi to avoid negative propaganda.
In an exclusive interview to a TV channel, Mr Khurshid had objected to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement on seeking US intervention for resolving the issue, saying no third party had the right to interfere in this matter.
“There is no way in which India will accept any intervention on an issue that is entirely accepted in the Simla Agreement as an issue between India and Pakistan,” the Indian minister had stated, adding that “Kashmir is an integral part of India and no one should raise a question on that”.
“We respect you, but do not accept your claim that Kashmir is an integral part of India,” the PML-N chairman said while commenting on the Indian minister’s remarks.
Quoting from the UN Charter, Mr Haq explained that member countries could not reach any agreement or understanding on the disputed subject without bringing it to the notice of the UN Security Council.
The PML-N chairman also dispelled an impression that Kashmir was an issue between the two countries. He said in the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration, the two countries had vowed to resolve the matter in the light of the UN resolutions which call for holding a plebiscite. He said it was India, and not Pakistan, which had taken the matter to the UN. He said there was not one, but 23 unanimously passed resolutions in the UN on the subject. Both India and Pakistan had agreed on all these resolutions.
Moreover, Mr Haq also referred to a news conference by the then Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in which while replying to a question, he had categorically stated that India was committed to resolving the matter in accordance with UN resolutions.
Mr Haq praised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for effectively raising the Kashmir issue during his address to the UN General Assembly last month. In reply to a question he said his party was not opposed to cooperation with India in other fields, including trade, but said the two countries needed to resolve the core issue of Kashmir to normalise their relations.
The PML-N chairman refused to take questions on other issues, including terrorism and the government’s performance.