Peace hinges on settlement of Kashmir: Altaf
12 November 2004
New Delhi: Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Altaf Hussain said in an interview published here on Friday that there could be no permanent peace between India and Pakistan if Kashmir issue was not resolved. Accepting that 'the 57-year-old egos of India and Pakistan' would not whither away easily, he however felt that the current round of India- Pakistan talks was fundamentally different from previous parleys as the 'two countries were not out to cheat each other' this time. The Hindu newspaper quoted Mr Hussain as saying that he had a telephonic talk with President Pervez Musharraf before leaving for India and would be speaking to him at the end of his visit. 'It was the turn of the politician, not the demagogue. If the London-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief, Altaf Hussain, was all fire and brimstone at an international conference last week, he was the measured politician today', wrote the newspaper's correspondent Amit Baruah. According to the correspondent, Mr Hussain felt that both President Pervez Musharraf and the Indian leadership were 'sincere' in trying to address their differences. Stating that India and Pakistan should spend more on development and less on defence, he said that the consulates in Karachi and Mumbai should be opened immediately. Supporting the latest proposals made by Gen Musharraf on Kashmir, Mr Hussain said it was difficult for any Pakistani leader to speak about setting aside the national position on holding a plebiscite in Kashmir.