Kashmir Problem Is Heading Toward A Solution: Musharraf
7 December 2003
Huma Aamir Malik
Islamabad: President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has said that the Kashmir problem was heading toward a solution and the negotiations in this connection would soon start, adding that stress should be given to the need of progress in the matter instead of technicalities. He said this while talking with newsmen following the convocation of F.C. College, Lahore yesterday. The president expressed the hope that the issues with the opposition would soon be resolved and he was himself monitoring the talks between the government and the opposition. The Parliament will complete its tenure of five years, he said. He also said that talks with MMA were also in progress over the vote of confidence. Responding to another question regarding his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, he said it was up to Vajpayee. However he was unaware of the meeting as yet. In another development, India is said to be ready to discuss troop cuts in the divided Kashmir region with Pakistan, its Islamabad-based High Commissioner Shiv Shankar Menon said in remarks published yesterrday. Talking to The News daily on Friday, he said India had not rejected a proposal by President Musharraf about the withdrawal of troops from the Line of Control (LOC) that divides the Himalayan state between the two South Asian nuclear neighbors. Menon, however, insisted that it was a serious subject and could only be taken up when the two sides resumed the stalled talks. 'Our region should close the chapter of wars and acrimony and open the road for prosperity and happiness,' the Indian envoy was quoted as saying. Musharraf made the offer during a BBC radio program early this week, days after India responded positively to Pakistan's Nov. 23 cease-fire initiative on the LOC. Speaking to top military brass at a corps commanders' meeting on Friday, Musharraf said he was satisfied with the positive Indian response and that the cease-fire on the LOC was holding to date. Pakistan and India have traded fire along the LOC, accusing each other of initiating it. The two countries have fought two wars over the disputed territory since gaining independence from British colonial rule in1947 .