Kasuri for more serious talks

Agence France Presse

Davos, January 30:

Sensitive talks between regional rivals India and Pakistan are not making enough progress and need to be tackled “with greater seriousness,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri said. He called for a “confidence-building measure” on the disputed Kashmir.

“The fact that we’re talking is progress, but in concrete terms we are not making much progress, not just on Kashmir but even on other issues,” he added on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “The leadership in both countries should be mindful of this fact,” and must not disappoint strong peace lobbies.

Kasuri called on New Delhi to agree to a passport- and visa-free bus service between Srinagar, capital of Indian-run Kashmir, and Muzaffarabad, capital of the Pakistani part.

India insists passengers must carry passports, but Islamabad fears that it would be tantamount to accepting the Line of Control as a permanent border. “The purpose is not to create more tensions, so let’s get on with it, we’re ready for it,” Kasuri said.

Discussions on the bus link are part of comprehensive dialogue launched in January between the nuclear-armed countries, which came close to a fourth war in 2002, and analysts say agreement would boost the overall peace process.