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Jamali wants India to make `concessions' on Kashmir

By Hasan Suroor

LONDON AUG 4. The Pakistan Prime Minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, has called on India to make "concessions'' on Kashmir saying that as the bigger country it is expected to take the lead.

"We are watching for how many concessions India is ready,'' he told the BBC.

Mr. Jamali insisted that Kashmir was the "core'' issue and said that while both countries would have to make "sacrifices'', India would need to be more generous. "It is the bigger country that has to (make) sacrifice,'' he said, adding that "if the big country makes a concession of say one hundred rupees, the smaller one can also make a concession of a rupee and a half.''

Mr. Jamali avoided a direct reply to a question as to what sort of concessions Pakistan was willing to make to facilitate a settlement, but was emphatic that "India occupies the larger territory of Kashmir, and it has to make concessions''.

Answering questions on BBC's Hindi phone-in programme "Aaap Ki Baat'', he said he was ready to meet the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, any time and at any place of New Delhi's choosing, and hinted that a meeting was possible "even before'' the SAARC summit in Islamabad next January.

Using the Urdu expression "hukam'', Mr. Jamali said it was for Mr. Vajpayee to "order'' and "whenever he wants, I will meet him''. Asked whether he would like to take the initiative to propose a meet with Mr. Vajpayee, he said: "He is the elderly person, and elders want to meet the younger. It is the elders who order, and it is for the younger to obey. Therefore when he wants, I will meet him.''

Mr. Jamali reiterated Pakistan's claim that it was not supporting cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and said that in order to facilitate India-Pakistan dialogue, Islamabad was ready to appeal to the militants to give up violence. "We can appeal and we would do that also. But my request is that when you are moving in a particular direction, there should be no conditions attached. If you attach conditions and say do this then we move forward, I am sorry to say nothing would be achieved. We should talk with an open mind.''

Mr. Jamali said organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan had been "closed and sealed'', and Islamabad could "prove'' that it did not support terrorism. "Why does the world not understand this? They should listen to us,'' he said.

About the possibility of an India-Pakistan meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session, he said that "whenever and at whichever level India wants to meet, we are ready to talk to them''.

"We have never said no and we would never say so, because I feel that this is a step towards betterment,'' he said, welcoming India's decision to attend the SAARC summit as "good news for us as well as for this entire region''.

When asked, he said: "There is a possibility that we may meet even before SAARC. There are many international forums, I feel that at any of these forums where we come across each other, then we should definitely meet.''

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