May 2003 News

We Cannot Sideline Kashmir: Musharraf

15 May 2003
The Pioneer

Islamabad: Making it clear that Pakistan would never sideline the Kashmir issue, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said his country would like to have a composite dialogue with India, to resolve both the Kashmir issue and other outstanding matters. Musharraf said he would like to send a message to the Indian leadership that Pakistan would deal with India on all issues with sovereign equality and would not compromise on its honour and dignity. 'Pakistan will never get coerced and it would not sideline the Kashmir issue,' he said at a dinner hosted in honour of the participants of Pakistan Development Forum (PDF) here on Wednesday night. Pakistan would like to have a composite dialogue with India on all issues, including Kashmir, he was quoted as saying by the official media. Musharraf said 'there is a thaw in India- Pakistan relations. We welcome it,' adding that Islamabad desired peace and harmony in the region and stood for economic progress. Besides welcoming the breakthrough in Indo-Pak relations, he, however, refrained from speaking on the subject, saying it was better that he left Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali to deal with normalisation process, even though he remained a prominent player in the background. Musharraf has stepped up his interaction with Jamali since last week's visit of US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to India and Pakistan. Musharraf met Jamali twice in the last 24 hours to discuss the Indo-Pak peace process as well as pressing domestic issues.


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