October 2002 News

India hopeful of positive Pak response after J&K elections

4 October 2002
The Daily Excelsior

New Delhi: India today hoped that Pakistan will see reason, accept the results of the Jammu and Kashmir elections and cease cross-border terrorism to open the way for resumption of dialogue. From all indications, Pakistan is ''unwilling to draw the right lesson,'' Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal told reporters to a spate of questions on the current Indo-Pak stand off and the possible fallout of the Jammu and Kashmir elections as far as Islamabad is concerned. ''Our hope is that they will see reason, accept the results of these elections, cease cross- border terrorism and see whether way can be opened to a resumption of dialogue,'' he said. Emphasising that Pakistan has ''consistently failed all tests, litmus or otherwise,'' he said its promise to the international community to end infiltration and terrorism directed against India has not been honoured. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has not even passed the test of using ''moderate, sober language'' at various international fora, he said adding the military rulerís discourses continued to be provocative and aimed at igniting terrorists and those indulging in violence. ''In this hurdle race....Instead of jumping the hurdles, he is sending them crashing on the ground everytime he runs,'' Sibal said. Asked what avenues India had with the US and Britain failing to rein in Pakistan on the issue of terrorism, he said ''we are using all options available to us''. Diplomatic and political options continue to be Indiaís priority in dealing with the situation, he said. Sibal said ''short of a miracle'', one could not see any sign of change in Pakistanís thinking and approach. Observing that the just-concluded third round of elections in Jammu and Kashmir had seen more violence, he said this was mainly because of Pakistanís ''frustration'' and Musharraf focussing on inciting violence and communal trouble by referring to the Gujarat situation. Stressing that the message put out by the people of Kashmir was loud and clear, he said they had shown exceptional courage by going to vote in large numbers in the face of threats to their security. ''It is truly an expression of the will of the people of Kashmir''. ''Clearly, those who are watching what has happened will absorb the importance of this message,'' Sibal said in an apparent snub to Musharraf who has termed the elections as a ''sham''. The Foreign Secretary said feedback he had received from foreign diplomats who had visited Jammu and Kashmir for the elections was that they did not see any irregularity or coercion and that it seemed free and fair. ''Pakistan has certainly been put on the defensive,'' he said adding developments in the wake of the September 11 terror strikes in the US had seen a ''vast change''in the international communityís perception on terrorism and Pakistanís attitude on the issue.


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