Musharraf urges India to include APHC in dialogue
4 July 2001
The News International
NEW DELHI: President General Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday called upon India to involve the leadership of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) into dialogue process as solution to Kashmir issue was not possible without their involvement."I request that they should be included at this stage or at other (stage) as without their involvement and their desire, solution (to the Kashmir issue) is not possible," he said, in an interview with Zee News.Asked whether the APHC leadership would be brought into dialogue process once the summit talks lay down some framework, he said: "Certainly. The solution is not possible without their involvement. So early they are involved the better it is."The president said any settlement of Kashmir must involve wishes of the people of Kashmir "because otherwise it won"t be welcome". "I would certainly like to go for a permanent solution." Asked about the direction of talks between the two leaders, he said: "The direction is pretty straight. We need to resolve the Kashmir issue. The direction is to resolve the issue and not to involve in peripheral issues."Responding to a question, the president said: "I"ll try that progress is made on Kashmir issue, and if there is time and Vajpayee wants to discuss other issues then we can talk on them." General Musharraf said he was not a war-monger. "I am in uniform. But I call myself man of peace. But, a peace that ensures honour and dignity of my country."Replying to a question on Kargil conflict, the president said: "We must not live in history. We feel that such a discussion will open Pandora's box. There is no end in going back to history. If they talk of Kargil, then I would like to go back to Siachin, I would like to go back to 1971 to 1948 and then there will be no end to going back to history."Responding to a question about the bilateral accords like Simla and Lahore agreements, he said: "We do contribute to all agreements. They start from 1948 UN (Security Council) resolutions, which we ought to adhere to. We have also signed Simla Accord and Lahore Declaration. These declarations and accords certainly do stand. But I want to go a step forward."He said a lot has changed since Simla Accord and Lahore Declaration were signed. "We are both nuclear powers. We probably have realised that time has come to take bold decisions. There is a requirement of examining these accords and seeing whether more focus is required on certain issues which may not be having the desired focus in these accords. All this has to be discussed when I meet prime minister (Vajpayee)."He also called for restraint from making provocative statements like declaring Kashmir as integral part of India or talking of capturing Azad Kashmir. "These statements should be desisted from. When we are going to negotiate now, why should we issue such statements, which hamper dialogue. On both sides, we should exercise restraint."He said statements should be made that facilitate "the job of either side when we meet each other". "It is not the child game going on. Who is winning and who is losing. Who has won and who has lost."The president said such contentions were irresponsible, "because, issue involved is far bigger". "We are trying to resolve a dispute that has bedevilled our relations for 50 year. A dispute on which we have fought wars, we have suffered casualties, blood was spilled on both sides and there has been blood- shedding along the Line of Control," he said.General Pervez Musharraf said Pakistan was a moderate Islamic state and "I want to maintain this moderate part of our society". "I am a firm believer that there has to be a balance and moderation. In Pakistani society, there are extremists on one side and on other side there are liberal modernists - over westernised. I don"t believe in either of them. There has to be a balance and moderation. We are a modern Islamic republic," he said.Responding to a question, he said: "It does not go well that the main issue is sidelined and you talk everything under the sun." He said talking of commercial and economic activities like trade, export of sugar etc "does not go well because people in Pakistan think there is a degree of insincerity. How can you be friendly, how can you develop and progress on all these issues when the main issue on which we have fought wars remains."When there is hatred on borders, what kind of cooperation, what kind of sympathy, what kind of similarities we are talking of. It is quite unnatural," he added.In response to a question, he said it would be very "unhappy" for both sides if the summit derailed. "I think Mr Vajpayee and I myself have to understand that it will be very unfortunate. The decision to meet which has created hype and interest around the world, if we too fail, then it will be very unfortunate," Gen Musharraf added.Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview on late Tuesday with the Associated Press and Associated Press Television News President General Pervez Musharraf said better relations between India and Pakistan are impossible without first resolving the dispute over Kashmir. "We have been talking about trade, commercial ties, economic relations and cultural relations (and) of improving communications between the two countries. That is putting the cart before the horse and ignoring Kashmir. This cannot be done," Musharraf said.He said his July 14-16 meetings with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will be for the first time leaders of both sides will sit down with Kashmir on the agenda. "Never have Pakistan and India sat down toward resolving the Kashmir dispute," Musharraf was quoted as saying. He added nothing should deter talks over Kashmir during his visit. He hoped Indian leaders shared his sincerity about reaching an accord over Kashmir.Asked what he hoped to achieve over Kashmir, Musharraf said: "We ought to set a definite direction for its solution and maybe a timeframe toward achieving it." He said relations between Pakistan and India affected not only the one-fifth of humanity, living in these countries, but also the entire South Asian region.Musharraf said the whole world was watching the forthcoming summit. "We must not let down the people of India and Pakistan, the people of the region, and the world," Musharraf was quoted as saying.Musharraf was unequivocal about returning the country to democracy next year. "There is no doubt in my mind that we have to have elections and have an elected government in place by October 2002," said Musharraf, who insisted he would not be a candidate. "I am not at all a politician. I don"t think I"m cut out for politics. I am certainly not going to stand for election."