Musharraf's statement termed a setback
23 August 2003
KARACHI: Gen Pervez Musharraf's recent statement in which the country was said to be ready to go beyond its stated position on Kashmir was termed by the Pakistan People's Party a great setback. 'The statement of Gen Musharraf, given before the Indian delegation recently, that Pakistan was ready to go beyond its historically stated position on Kashmir is a great setback to our internationally recognized principled position on the Kashmiris' right to self- determination. The people of Kashmir are indivisible,' said on Saturday Taj Haider, the PPP's information secretary. The Kashmiris' right to self-determination, which the general had tried to bargain away, was a right accepted by the international community, the UN Security Council and the Indian government of the time, Mr Haider maintained. He pointed out that even at a time when 5,000 square miles of the Pakistani territory and 90,000 troops were in the Indian hands, the PPP government had stood firm on the Kashmiris' right to self-determination at Simla. Now for no apparent reason and at a time when the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris had already cost nearly 100,000 lives, the general's voluntary offer to give up the principled position amounted to a stab in the back of their valiant efforts, Mr Haider claimed. He referred to a proposal of the PPP chairperson Ms Benazir Bhutto's in which she had stressed the need for remaining firm on the country's principled position on Kashmir and the resolve not to go to war with India. Ties with the neighbouring country needed to be improved, Ms Bhutto had maintained. Mr Haider said in this manner a climate of trust and understanding could be built which could make the restoration of the right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir possible. But he pointed out that back then the establishment had launched a viscous propaganda campaign which went to the extent of labelling her a traitor. He asked where those 'patriots' were now that the general had made a generous offer to India?