SAF India chairman Mani Shankar Ayar and Pakistan former minister Kurshid Mahmud Kasuri were able to interact with UNESCO Madanjeet scholarship students from South Asian countries at the Asian College of journalism.
CHENNAI: The absence of trust is the biggest problem between India and Pakistan and anything that addresses this “trust deficit” is helpful in the way forward, the former Pakistan Foreign Minister, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, said on Monday.
Calling upon the political leadership in the two countries to show will to resolve outstanding issues, Mr. Kasuri, who held the post during 2002-07, said the leaders of the two countries should initiate a peace process in which they address each other's concerns including those on Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism, Siachen, Sir Creek water sharing.
“Our relationship has witnessed many vicissitudes and periods of missed opportunities. We should not let this happen again. The future of our relationship need not look like the present. It should rather look more like the recent past when there was cautious optimism about the relationship and when the two sides were committed to the irreversibility of the dialogue,” he said, delivering a talk on Indo-Pakistan relations during 2000-10 at the Asian College of Journalism here.
Emphasising closer and stronger ties between India and Pakistan, he referred to the successful examples of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in the area of regional cooperation. The 70-year-old leader from Pakistan recalled that when he was young, there were calls in Indonesia to “crush Malaysia.”
The former Pakistan Foreign Minister, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, and Mani Shankar Aiyar, MP, at a meeting in Chennai on Monday.
Now, the Asean had offered a good example of how regional countries even with tense and difficult relations and situated closer to “our region” overcame their history and moved in promoting regional cooperation, peace and understanding.
He appealed to parliamentarians of both countries to rise above partisanship and promote better understanding of each other's perspectives. He also urged the media of India and Pakistan to be more careful in handling contentious issues, including acts of terrorism, and wanted them to play a positive role.
Giving his ideas on the approach to be adopted towards various issues, Mr. Kasuri said the terror threats to Pakistan and India were so great that a joint approach by them would help stamp out the menace.
The meeting of Home Minister P. Chidambaram with his counterpart Rehman Malik in Islamabad in June 2010 had provided a useful opportunity to agree on the need for cooperation on the issue of terrorism.
He said the Siachen issue could be easily resolved, given political will. Both sides had agreed to work towards a settlement based on redeployment and establishing a zone of disengagement in the area.
On the Sir Creek issue, the political leadership of the two countries had to decide how to demarcate the boundaries, for which technical work had been completed.
On the Kashmir issue, he recalled that about four years ago, the governments felt that they had almost agreed on the draft text. The threads had to be picked up from where they were left off in 2007, he said.
A part of Mr. Kasuri's speech was read out by Member of Parliament Mani Shankar Aiyar as Mr. Kasuri was not well.
However, the former Pakistan Minister took part actively in the question-answer session that lasted nearly an hour.
Sashi Kumar, Chairman of the Media Development Foundation, and N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu and trustee of the Foundation, were present.