September 2004 News

LoC as border no solution to Kashmir, says Musharraf

24 September 2004
The Daily Times
Rana Qaisar

United Nations: There was no question of accepting the Line of Control (LoC) as a permanent border to settle the Jammu and Kashmir issue with India, President Pervez Musharraf said on Friday. 'How can a conflict be a solution?' President Musharraf said in response to a question by a journalist at a press conference at the United Nations headquarters. 'Isn't it unnatural to accept a conflict as a solution? How can a conflict on which we have fought wars be the solution tomorrow? That is absolutely ridiculous. It can't be possible,' he said.President Musharraf said Kashmir was a political dispute. 'It is not a religious issue. It is a political dispute which needs to be resolved amicably,' he said and added that it was time to discuss the resolution of issues, including Kashmir, through dialogue and matters should not be 'complicated' further. 'Nothing gets resolved in anger. It is time to give peace a chance.'When asked that the references to Kashmiris, UN resolutions and the plebiscite were missing in his the UN General Assembly address, the president said, 'Trust me, I will never let them (the Kashmiris) down. That's all I can tell the people of Kashmir. We have not left our political positions on the Kashmir issue. I have always said that the confidence-building measures (CBMs) and dialogue process have to move in tandem and that is a very realistic approach.'He said normalisation could not take place without addressing an issue on which three wars had been fought. 'We kill each other every day on the LoC. We are two angry countries. Let's resolve that element of anger, and only then can we proceed on normalisation everywhere. That is my answer. Let us make it in tandem. Let us move forward on everything,' President Musharraf said.He stressed leaving aside hackneyed approaches and suggested adopting a realistic approach. 'If we want to solve the problem, it will not be done unilaterally,' he said, again assuring the Kashmiris that no unilateral backtracking by Pakistan was possible.He said Pakistan and India needed to show flexibility; they needed to reverse from their maximalist positions. 'If you follow a rigid line, it never leads to peace.' He clarified that no peace or solution could be acceptable unless India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir agreed to it and nothing was possible without the Kashmiris accepting that solution. President Musharraf said he did not believe in 'dialogue for the sake of dialogue'. He however said he could not give a timeframe for a Kashmir solution. 'We have waited too long and damaged each other too long. It is time to heal wounds,' he added.He said Pakistan and India were moving on the CBMs and the dialogue process. 'We believe that they must move in tandem. And the dialogue process should include all issues, including Kashmir. I am very hopeful and very optimistic of results,' the president said.About his army uniform the president said asked why the world was so concerned about his uniform and democracy. 'We have a democratic system that might be better than many developed countries,' he said. But he hinted that he might not step down as army chief as the peace process with India, continuity of policies and war against terrorism needed 'unity of command'. The president said that in view of the national, regional and international circumstances he was 'confused' about deciding on his 'uniform'.


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