October 2004 News

'Simple solution is demilitarization': Musharraf on Kashmir

13 October 2004
The Dawn

New Delhi: President Pervez Musharraf sees a 'simple' solution to the Kashmir dispute India should pull troops out of the Himalayan territory and agree to a compromise over its status. Gen Musharraf said both sides needed to step back from these 'maximalist' positions after which, he added, they could find a solution in just a day if they really wanted to. 'It is simple - identify the region, demilitarize it and change its status,' he told India's Asian Age newspaper in an interview published on Wednesday. Last year, Gen Musharraf told Reuters he could set aside Pakistan's demand for a plebiscite and meet India half-way. At that time he also suggested Pakistan was not really interested in the mainly Hindu Jammu region or Buddhist Ladakh, but only in the Muslim majority Valley, the nucleus of a 15- year resistance against Indian rule. RAY OF LIGHT Gen Musharraf, speaking on Tuesday on the fifth anniversary of his taking power in a coup, said both sides needed to recognize the other's concerns. 'We are at present on a maximalist course if there has to be an agreement, both sides have to step down,' he said. 'I know that Pakistan cannot dictate terms to India, and also that there can be no military solution,' he said.


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