March 2001 News

India's response to peace negative: Pak

23 March 2001
The Asian Age
Raja Asghar

Islamabad: Pakistan complained on Friday that nuclear rival India is not responding positively to its peace overtures, and vowed to continue backing a Muslim revolt against its neighbour in the disputed Kashmir region. In messages to mark Pakistan’s National Day, Indian leaders were reported to have affirmed their desire for good neighbourly relations, however. President Mohammad Rafiq Tarar told a military parade in Islamabad that Pakistan had become the world’s seventh and the Islamic world’s first nuclear power but wanted a peaceful settlement to its 53-year-old dispute with India over Kashmir. “To create a congenial atmosphere, we have taken several positive steps, including a partial pullback of troops from the Line of Control,” he said, referring to a military ceasefire line dividing the Himalayan region. “But it is a matter of regret that a positive response to our efforts is not forthcoming,” he said. Peace talks between India and Pakistan, which declared their nuclear prowess with tit-for-tat tests in May 1998, have been stalled since heavy fighting along the Kashmir control line in summer 1999 brought them to the brink of a fourth war. Pakistani official media reported that India has said, in messages to mark the day, that it wants to foster peace and friendship. The statements came in separate notes to Pakistani leaders from Indian President K.R. Narayanan and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the APP news agency said. “India remains committed to the establishment of good neighbourly relations which will contribute to the welfare of the peoples of the two countries,” said Mr Vajpayee’s note to military ruler General Pervez Musharraf. Mr Narayanan said in a note to President Tarar: “India looks to the future and seeks to foster peace and friendship between India and Pakistan.” The Pakistan Day parade, also attended by Mr Musharraf and visiting Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, marks the day in 1940 when a Muslim political party demanded that British colonial rulers carve a Muslim homeland out of the subcontinent.


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