Pak not to allow territory for terrorists acts; offers dialogue
22 May 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Islamabad: Shortly after India warned of a decisive battle against Pakistan- sponsored cross-border terrorism, Islamabad today declared it would not allow its territory or the territory controlled by it to be used for terrorist activities in Kashmir but vowed to continue its moral, political and diplomatic support to the ''legitimate'' struggle of the Kashmiri people. A joint meeting of National Security Council (NSC) — the country’s highest policy making body — and the cabinet, said the country was ready to defend itself against any Indian attack. President Pervez Musharraf presided over the meeting held in the wake of hightened Indo-Pak tension. A statement issued after the meeting, shortly after Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on his visit to Kashmir, talked of a decisive battle against crossborder terrorism, said Pakistan was ready to sort out all differences with India, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, through a comprehensive dialogue between the two countries. The meeting specially recalled Musharraf’s January 12 address in which he banned five Islamic militant outfits and reaffirmed the policy decisions announced by him to crackdown on militants. The meeting particularly emphasised that the Government will not allow the territory of Pakistan or any territory whose defence is the responsibility of Pakistan to be used for any terrorist activity anywhere in the world. It also reiterated that no organisation in Pakistan will be allowed to indulge in terrorism in the name of Kashmir. The meeting took place in the backdrop of tough warning given by Vajpayee in his address to troops at frontlines in Kashmir today and the boycott by the mainstream political parties of the meeting called by Musharraf to discuss the prevailing Indo-Pak stand off. While expressing concern over the ''aggressive'' statements by the Indian leadership as well as deployment of troops along the borders, the meeting underlined the need for de-escalation and for withdrawal of troops from both sides to their pre-time locations. The meeting agreed that all differences between Pakistan and India including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir should be resolved through bilateral negotiations or other peaceful means as provided in the UN charter. In this context, it stressed the need for a comprehensive dialogue between Pakistan and India, the statement said. The meeting, however, pledged to continue Pakistan’s moral, political and diplomatic support to the ''legitimate'' struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for the realisation of their right to self-determination in accordance with relevant UN resolutions. The meeting, also expressed, determination of the people of Pakistan to defend the country against any aggression or misadventure from India, it said adding that the ministers and members of the military-dominated NSC supported Government’s policy to defuse tensions with India.