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Friday, February 20, 2009

‘India, Pak were close to deal’

India and Pakistan were close to working out the outline of a solution to Kashmir and reached an understanding on disengagement in Siachen while discussing demilitarisation on both sides of the Line of Control, says former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid M. Kasuri.

Mr Kasuri, who was spearheading the peace talks with India under former Presi-dent Pervez Musharraf, also said there was a substantial understanding on a Joint Mechanism that would have representatives from the two countries besides both sides of divided Kashmir.

The agreements could not fructify because of "sheer bad luck" and the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Islamabad not materialising, he told Karan Thapar on India Tonight programme on CNBC TV18.

Mr Kasuri said Pakistan had hoped Dr Singh would visit the country but in 2007 there were Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and other states. After that before he could be invited, Pakistan was embroiled in a controversy over the rem-oval of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhary.

Mr Kasuri replied in the affirmative on being asked whether the two countries had come close to working out the outline of a solution to Kashmir.

"Yes you see...We wanted Kashmiris to be involved and India was not that keen, so we arrived at this modus vivendi that your Kashmiris would travel to Pakistan, our Kashmiris would travel here (India) and meet your leaders and your Kashmiris meet our leaders in an indirect form. We would have preferred a direct Kashmiri participation," he said.


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