Kashmir Core Islamic Cause: Pervez
16 October 2003
The Asian Age
Putrajaya: Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf on Thursday called on the Muslim leaders to pressure New Delhi to move ahead with peace talks over Kashmir, accusing India of belligerence. Gen. Musharraf, addressing the Organisation of Islamic Conference on the first day of a two-day summit, tried to rally his counterparts by describing the conflict over the Himalayan region as a 'core Islamic cause.' The Army chief pleaded for the OIC to help persuade India to enter talks based on an action plan for peace he delivered at the United Nations last month. 'This Conference should ask India to reconsider its rejectionist and belligerent posture,' he said, adding India's confrontation with Pakistan was dangerous and pointless. The OIC in the past has issued resolutions calling for both sides to talk, and supporting Kashmiris right to self-determination. Later, Gen. Musharraf said in an interview to PTI that he was ready to meet Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee 'anytime, anywhere' but was not 'dying' for it. 'You can't clap with one hand. I want to (have talks). You ask this question to your Prime Minister,' he said. He, however, said, 'Let me add one thing here. They should not think we are dying to meet them. We would like to meet them for mutual benefit.' Earlier, raking up the Kashmir issue at the opening of the summit, OIC secretary-general Abdelouahed Belkeziz toed Pakistan's line and talked about right of 'self-determination' for the Kashmiri people and urged India to allow its delegation to 'inspect condition in the Indian-controlled part' of the state. Addressing the summit of 57-member grouping, Mr Belkeziz, however, noted with satisfaction the marked improvement in Indo-Pak ties following resumption of diplomatic relations and easing of tensions between the two countries. 'We hope this would help reach a lasting solution to Jammu and Kashmir conflict so as to enable Kashmiri people exercise their right to self-determination and ward off the spectre of war between India and Pakistan which would jeopardise the entire region of south Asia,' he said.Describing the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as 'Jammu and Kashmir,' he applauded Islamabad for allowing an OIC delegation to visit there and hoped that India would also permit an 'inspection of the Indian-controlled part of Jammu and Kashmir.' 'The general secretariat dispatched this year a high-level delegation to Jammu and Kashmir in compliance with OIC resolutions. The delegation came face to face with the conditions and problems of the populations and with the magnitude of their plight, which are due to constant tension in the border areas,' Mr Belkeziz said. He said, 'We hope that the Indian government would soon allow the general secretariat to dispatch a similar delegation to inspect the condition in the Indian-controlled part of Jammu and Kashmir.' Meanwhile, attending his first summit meeting of the world's largest Muslim grouping, Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected on Thursday suggestions that Islam was the root cause of international terrorism. Russia's position is clear - terrorism cannot be identified with any religion.'