August 2002 News

No timeframe given to end infiltration: Musharraf

29 August 2002
The Indian Express

Islamabad: Making it clear that he had not given any timeframe to the international community to stop infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday that he expected ''some progress and reciprocation'' from the Indian side to resolve the Kashmir issue. On whether his assurance to stop the infiltration across the LoC would last or whether he has put any time limit on it, Musharraf said in an interview that there was no time limit on his assurances but reiterated on his demand for reciprocation from Indian side. ''We have not given any time limits. I said nothing is happening across the Line of Control. But, of course, one can imagine, unless there is some progress, some movement on Kashmir, some response and some reciprocation from the Indian side, how long can we know that there is lot of sympathy and support for Kashmiris here. How long will all this remain quite for no movement on Kashmir,'' he told the BBC. Musharraf also ruled out any threat posed by ''extremists'' in Pakistan to his government and said that involvement of al-Qaeda and Indian intelligence agency RAW was not ruled out in the recent attacks on Christians in Pakistan. ''They do not pose any threat to the government. They are just extremists. They can undertake extremist acts. But you will see in these elections that they have no place in politics. They are not supported by the public at large,'' he said. However, Musharraf admitted that the entry of al-Qaeda into Pakistan has caused ''anxiety''. ''As far as their coming into Pakistan, it causes, yes to a degree of anxiety specially their coming in and getting into the cities, like we caught some of them from Faisalabad and Lahore. '' ''This is bad. Because they carry out destabilisation within cities. That is a worrisome act. But I do not think that is widespread. I think they are more on the borders, if at all they are there. They are there, yes in a certain number, which I can not specify,'' Musharraf said. Musharraf said he could not specify the involvement of the group in the recent militant attacks on the Christian institutions. ''I can''t specify the involvement in the terrorists acts. There is no surety as yet—there are some indications that maybe there was some foreign element involved.'' ''But when we talk of foreign element, possibility of al-Qaeda and possibility of raw and Indian involvement also is there. We are trying to examine. But this is our own extremists I think,'' he added. Musharraf also denied that recent constitutional changes were made to strengthen his position ahead of the October general elections. ''This is a total misperception of whatever I am trying to do. I know the politicians say that, and the media, but nothing could be further from the truth.'' He also defended the National Security Council and denied he was trying to grab more power, saying ''If I was to take power for myself, as a person, I would not make the National Security Council.'' The military ruler said no ''sane'' person would want either of the former premiers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto back in power.


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