April 2001 News

Musharraf keen to begin J-K dialogue

6 April 2001
The Hindustan Times

New Delhi: Pakistan's military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf today said India and Pakistan should begin dialogue on Kashmir and all other issues without conditions. "Kashmir is the main issue. All other issues are irritants. We have no problem if India wants to deal with them simultaneously. But, if India thinks we should discuss all issues but Kashmir, we are not into it," he told editor M J Akbar in an interview. "Let's talk if we need to resolve this Kashmir dispute. I will be flexible. Let India be flexible on whatever they want to do about Kashmir," he said. Observing that there were three parties in the Kashmir dispute - India, Pakistan and Kashmiris, he said New Delhi and Islamabad could start talks even if Kashmiris were not there initially. "Let the APHC come here, let us at least tell them that we are not doing anything behind their backs. We (India and Pakistan) will talk and ultimately you (Hurriyat) will be included, that's the way of nicely resolving the Kashmir dispute," he said. Musharraf replied to questions on a wide range of issues including the nuclear issue, CTBT and internal developments in Pakistan. Referring to UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir calling for a plebiscite, Musharraf said, "One would like to show flexibility once the dialogue process starts." Asked if he would consider Vajpayee's ceasefire decision a window of opportunity in Kashmir, he said the measure that the Indian Prime Minister and his Government is talking about "is a hoax". "There is no ceasefire. Ceasefire is on the Line of Control. We are not firing and the Indians are not firing." To a question if nuclearisation of India and Pakistan has materially altered the equation in the context of any future war, the General said, "Maybe it has brought about a degree of stability that both India and Pakistan must realise. With nuclear capability on both sides, we must act much more responsibly and we must not enter into a conflict again." "I’ll salute vajpayee’ PAKISTAN's MILITARY ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf says he has no inhibitions about saluting PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee if he comes to Pakistan, and described the Indian leader as a person whom he would like to "trust". "Vajpayee is elder to me. If he comes now I will salute him … I will shake hands with him," Musharraf said refuting reports that he had declined to shake hands with Vajpayee during his visit to Lahore in February 1999.


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