April 2005 News

Kashmir real motive behind India visit: Musharraf

9 April 2005
The Daily Times
Shahzad Raza

Islamabad: President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday stressed the need to resolve the Kashmir dispute and said he would discuss the matter with the Indian leadership during his next week's visit to New Delhi.'The April 17 cricket match has no value compared to the talks to be held on Kashmir,' he said while speaking at the Students' Convention 2005. The convention was organised by the Higher Education Commission.The Indian government has invited President Musharraf to watch the last One Day International (ODI) between India and Pakistan in New Delhi. President Musharraf is likely to hold important talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the match.President Musharraf backed the launch of the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service, but said it alone would not resolve the dispute. He said the bus service was not a solution to the decades-old problem, but a confidence building measure (CBM) to ease the situation. He claimed a vast majority of Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) had welcomed the start of the bus service.Martial law President Musharraf maintained that he was working to avert martial law in the future. 'If steps are taken in the right direction, martial law will never be imposed again,' he added.He admitted that the military should not be involved in politics and that it should avoid interfering in the affairs of civil administration. However, he maintained that was it former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who showed him the way to politics.Islam President Mushrraf rejected public perceptions of 'extremist Islam' and 'moderate Islam.' 'We must throw this out of our mind. There is only one Islam and it is a moderate religion. It doesn't believe in extremism,' he said, adding that the basic problem was the interpretation of religion.He said that a handful of extremists were holding a majority of the country's moderate people hostage. He resolved to crush religious terrorists with force.Balochistan He said out of total 78 Sardars in Balochistan, only three were creating problems in the province. He questioned whether those three Sardars had the right to create laws and challenge the writ of the government. He stressed giving maximum autonomy and more financial support to the provinces. He said a balance should be maintained in the federal budget with more support to provinces like Balochistan and Sindh. He said that royalty on resources like gas would be increased and provincial governments would be asked to spend a sizeable amount of that royalty on resource-generating districts.Education President Musharraf said that the country's examination system was third-rate and the curriculum was outdated and teachers were not sufficiently trained. He said the hue and cry over the Aga Khan Board (AKB) was shocking. President Musharraf said a comprehensive survey on poverty and unemployment would be completed in next few months and the findings of the survey would be made available in June or July.


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