May 2001 News

CE will not ask Mujahideen to halt operations 

28 May 2001
The Nation

Lahore: The Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf has maintained that he is cautiously optimistic about the outcome of his proposed summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He said this in an exclusive interview with BBC on Monday night. While describing the decision by the Indian Prime Minister to invite him to New Delhi for talks as a welcome development, Gen Musharraf opined ‘If both sides come to the negotiating table with open minds then, I think, there should be no hurdle in the settlement of the Kashmir dispute.’ The Chief Executive said that Vajpayee deserves congratulations for taking decision to invite him for talks.  “I am glad over this Indian move but I am more pleased over India’s realisation that dialogue is the only way to find solution to the problems,” he added. Musharraf made it clear that Track II Diplomacy was not utilised to reach the stage of initiating the process of negotiations. "I do not believe in backdoor channels," he added. He, however, termed Indian decision of starting talks as an appropriate and right move. “It is a bold and courageous step taken by the Indian Prime Minister.  By inviting me to New Delhi, Vajpayee has shown statesmanship,” he added. Responding to a question, the Chief Executive observed that finding solution to problems between the two countries is a timeconsuming process and in this regard the first round of parleys will be very important. If both the sides demonstrated flexible attitude then it will be mush easier to continue this dialogue process and find a settlement to the Kashmir dispute, he said and added, “Both Pakistan and India have stated positions on the Kashmir issue, and one moves towards the resolution of the issue only when both sides show flexibility in their stated positions.” Musharraf further said both Islamabad and New Delhi should demonstrate flexibility in their stated positions. “This is the only way to move forward the talks process. We are going to New Delhi with such intention,” he added. Replying to another query, Gen Musharraf said that he will not yet appeal to the Mujahideen organisations in Occupied Kashmir to halt their operations. “The dialogue process is being started and the time has not yet come to make such an appeal,” he maintained. Musharraf said though some Mujahid groups have expressed their opposition to this process which is wrong. “They should support efforts aimed at to finding a solution to the Kashmir issue,” he added. Musharraf said that the Kashmir issue should not be sidelined.


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