LAHORE - Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo said on Monday the people of Kashmir were not against opening of trade between India and Pakistan; and the people and government of India were desirous of having friendly ties with Pakistan.

Wattoo was briefing the media at his residence on his return from India the other day. He was accompanied by senior PPP leader Munir Ahmad Khan.

The minister said Pakistan, while maintaining its principled stance on Kashmir, was discussing all mutual issues with India to reach an amicable and sustainable solution. “Pakistan is taking up all issues with India, including the core issue of Kashmir, and would not budge an inch from its principled stand,” he added.

Wattoo said despite being the minister of Kashmir affairs and on an unofficial visit, he was accorded warm welcome at many places, including East Punjab, in India.

The minister said Indians lauded the new visa policy between Pakistan and India, adding that the people of the two countries want peaceful coexistence, as well as enhanced trade and cultural ties.

“The relations between the two neighbours are getting better due to the fact that a democratic government is in place in Pakistan and the political sagacity of President Asif Ali Zardari,” he maintained.