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Pakistan says it never claimed Indian-occupied Kashmir as integral part

KUN0070 4 GEN 0382 KUWAIT /KUNA-KAJ3 POL-PAKISTAN-KASHMIR-POSITION Pakistan says it never claimed Indian-occupied Kashmir as integral part ISLAMABAD, Dec 11 (KUNA) - In a significant shift in its stance over the core Kashmir dispute with archrival India, Pakistan Monday said that it never claimed Kashmir to be its integral part and that Kashmir will become part of Pakistan is the slogan of Kashmiris not Pakistanis. "First of all Pakistan does not claim Kashmir. Kashmir dispute is about aspirations of Kashmiris," Foreign Office spokesperson Tasleem Aslam said at her weekly press briefing here. "Pakistan never claimed Kashmir to be integral part of Pakistan. What we said is Kashmiris should be able to decide their future. We hope they would opt for Pakistan. This is what they have been saying", she said. Further clarifying her statement, she said that Islamabad has not given up its position on Kashmir and stands by the resolutions passed by the UN Security Council to resolve the issue according to the aspirations of Kashmiri people. President General Pervez Musharraf in his interview with Indian NDTV said that Pakistan is ready to give up its claim over Kashmir if India reciprocates. The spokesperson said President Pervez Musharraf in his interview has talked about flexibility on both sides to reach a final settlement for the issue, which is acceptable to all parties including India, Pakistan and above all the Kashmiris. Pakistan and India have fought three wars over the Kashmir disputesince gaining independence from Britain in 1947. The ongoing fragile peace process, launched in 2003, has been unableto make any significant progress owing to the reluctance of the twocountries to budge from their positions over the Kashmir issue. Both countries had claimed Kashmir to be their territory. However,Mondays shift in Islamabads stance may lead to resolution of all outstanding bilateral disputes. The shift came after amid willingness by China to cautiously use its card for resolving the Kashmir dispute. The Nation newspaper reported that Pakistan and China have initiated vital talks on possible Chinese role in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and India will soon be approached to seek its acceptance for third party mediation. (end) amn.mm KUNA 111853 Dec 06NNNN