July 2003 News

Musharraf denies deal on Kashmir

5 July 2003
The Daily Times
Rana Qaisar

ISLAMABAD: President General Pervez Musharraf on Saturday said Pakistan would not compromise its core national interests including Kashmir and nuclear and missile technology. 'Deals on these issues are out of the question. No leader has the right to compromise Pakistan's core interests including Kashmir and strategic assets,' the president said at a press conference here on his return from the four-nation tour. Rejecting reports that he struck a deal on these issues during his visit, the president said Pakistan's strategic assets were completely protected and controlled. However, he said, Pakistan would not transfer nuclear and missile technology to any country. 'We are committed to non-proliferation of this technology.' Mr Musharraf said no one had asked him to roll back Pakistan's nuclear and missile programmes. 'Pakistan has developed strategic assets only for defence and security and the world is fully aware of it.' On the home front, when asked about the possibility of assemblies' dissolution, he said 'If I have anything in mind, I will not speak out here. But what is happening in the NWFP is religious extremism.' Assemblies must function and do their business smoothly, he added. LFO Mr Musharraf said the government was slightly flexible on talks with the opposition. He said the prime concern of some opposition parties protesting against the LFO was some individuals sitting abroad. He said, 'The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) keeps on changing its goalpost. There could be an agreement with the MMA on the remaining three LFO issues and there is flexibility on Article 58 2(b) and the National Security Council (NSC).' He said from the three points of the LFO, the MMA had moved to seventeen. Sustainable democracy The president said political restructuring was aimed at functional and sustained democracy. 'I briefed them (the leaders) about political restructuring and the reforms introduced in Pakistan and they expressed keenness in the establishment of a genuine democracy here.' Kashmir and ties with India The president said he told the leaders of the four countries he toured that normalisation of relations with India should be through dialogue, which would not move forward if there was no discussion on the core issue of Kashmir. Troops to Iraq The president said the United States and Britain requested the deployment of one brigade each with their troops in Iraq. 'No decision has yet been taken.' He said Prime Minister Jamali would take the final decision after consulting his cabinet and parliament. 'Pakistan wants to send troops to bring peace and stability to Iraq and help in its reconstruction. We also need to see that there is a United Nations (UN), Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) or Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) cover for them.' Recognition of Israel The president said the recognition of Israel was a contentious issue and there should be a national debate on it. 'Pakistan will consult other Muslim countries and then take a decision.' He said he had made no commitment on the issue. 'We should not be more Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves.' He said he had not gone to ask for aid, but trade. 'I was not carrying a begging bowl.' He said he built a long-term relationship with the US, Britain, France and Germany in trade, investment, the social sector and defence. 'Govt to strike at culprits' roots'ISLAMABAD President General Pervez Musharraf on Saturday said the government would reach the roots of the culprits involved in killing 44 people in Quetta and give them exemplary punishment. Addressing a press conference at Chaklala Airbase, the president said the possibility of involvement from across the border in the incident could not be ruled out. What happened in Quetta was religious terrorism and extremism, he said. 'They are uncivilised people. We have to take action against those who are spreading hatred in the name of religion and fanning sectarianism.' He expressed sympathy with the bereaved families. 'They are a progressive and peace-loving community. I hope that their elders will play their part to ensure peace.'Those involved in this crime are not only defaming Pakistan, but also doing a disservice to Islam,' Musharraf said. -Staff Report


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