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Pakistan  PM Says Kashmiris Should Vote on Their Future


Pakistan's prime minister says a U.N.-mandated plebiscite in the disputed region of Kashmir remains the key to peace between Pakistan and India.

Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali said Sunday in an interview on Indian television that without a vote to let Kashmiris decide their own future, relations would be "difficult" between the two countries. He said an election cannot be overlooked as the solution to Kashmir's status.

For more than 50 years, Pakistan and the United Nations have called for a plebiscite in Kashmir so the residents of the divided territory might decide whether they want to be part of India or Pakistan.

But last week, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said his country might be willing to drop its plebiscite demand. His statement came amid moves by both India and Pakistan to improve bilateral relations.

India responded to last week's statement on Friday by saying it will welcome any change in Pakistan's stand on Kashmir. In the past, New Delhi has said it will not discuss Kashmir until Pakistan stops the infiltration of anti-Indian Muslim militants into Indian Kashmir.

Pakistan says it is doing everything in its power to stop militant infiltration.

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