Pakistan Will Never Give Up Kashmir: Musharraf
11 September 2004
The Hindustan Times
Islamabad: Vowing that Pakistan would never give up Kashmir, President Pervez Musharraf has said he would convey his country's stand in this regard to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 'unequivocal terms' when they meet in New York later this month. 'We will not give up Kashmir, we have fought wars over it. Pakistan will have to ensure the interest of Kashmiris. I will meet Manmohan Singh (on September 22) and tell him in unequivocal terms about our stand on the issue. We will not give up Kashmir,' he told a meeting of Army officers and soldiers at a 'Garrison Darbar' in Quetta on Saturday. However, Musharraf said there was general apprehension in the outside world that whatever was happening in Afghanistan and Kashmir was originating from Pakistan. Pakistan is also being accused of nuclear proliferation, he said, adding Pakistanis are generally considered extremists devoid of tolerance. 'Wherever I go I face these questions. I have been refuting their charges but they stick to their opinion about our people,' Musharraf said. Cautioning that Pakistan has to face serious consequences if it failed to correct its image, he said 'if the world is not satisfied with our explanation we could be subjected to bombardment. The European community could withdraw trade concessions on our textile industry from which the country earns Rs 60 billion in foreign exchange through exports. It would result in closure of 50 per cent textile mills in the country. Economic sanctions may also be imposed and no country would trade with us. Finally our nuclear capability could also come under attack. We have to dispel these negative impressions about our country.' Referring to religious extremism, Musharraf said the country had no threat from outside but was facing internal threats. 'This extremism would destroy us.' Musharraf also claimed that fugitive camps to train militants existed in the Southwest Baluchistan province and expressed his determination to set the things right. He said the recurring violence scared foreign investors from coming to Pakistan. 'We want to invite investors to the country but they are afraid of law and order. The situation also affects poor classes because they could not get jobs if there is no investment.' The President said that through the efficiency of the intelligence network 90 per cent of the perpetrators had been arrested. 'We know who are behind these activities. There are executors and planners and behind them are masterminds who provide them with money, training and weapons to commit terrorism. But they would be liquidated,' he said. Stressing that Pakistan's future should be given foremost priority, Musharraf said the country 'comes first. Pakistan is our entity. We have to save ourselves, achieve economic development, enhance our defence capabilities and move ahead with the rest of the world.' About sending Pakistani troops to Iraq, he said the country would not send its soldiers under prevailing conditions in that country, but would consider it when other countries, specially India send troops. He said it would be unwise and against diplomacy to close all doors, especially when Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi himself had requested him for sending troops. The decision may be changed if circumstances changed and conducive atmosphere created. 'If ... India sends its troops to Iraq, it would not be wise for us to stay away,' Musharraf said. He also said Pakistan would not roll back its nuclear capability and added that during the past three to four years it spent more amount on improving these capabilities than in the past 30 years. 'Defence is the most important priority and all defence requirements would be met,' he said, adding a strategy for the next 15 years had been chalked out to further augment the national defence. 'Our tanks are far better than those of the enemy. We will increase our mobility, communication, air defence and surveillance needs under this strategy. We have enough resources for the purpose. The two pillars of the country defence and economy are strong,' he said.