New Delhi: Pakistan on 3 April used the SAARC forum to obliquely raise bilateral issues with India, saying the South Asian grouping has failed to make the desired progress due to an “environment of disputes and mistrust” and called for resolution of differences and disputes through “dialogue and compromise”.
Addressing the 14th Summit of the eight-nation regional grouping here, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, without naming Kashmir, said it was essential to remove “obstacles of the trust deficit which has hampered meaningful cooperation in the region”.
Favouring “peaceful co-existence” and building of inter-dependencies and sharing of best practices, he said “political will” was the initial requirement for regional integration.
“The reason why we have been slow in catching up with the other regional organisations is evident. The political environment in South Asia has remained vitiated by disputes and mistrust. We have been mired in conflict management,” Aziz said.
Noting that the “drain of our energies” due to conflict management has held back the region from achieving the SAARC goals, he proposed a “roadmap” which includes promotion of an environment of “genuine peace and security” in South Asia, saying it was directly linked to development.
“This requires us to resolve the differences and disputes within and between our countries through dialogue and compromise,” the Pakistan Prime Minister said.
“We must be able to rise above our differences for the greater good of our people and our future generations,” he said.