April 2005 News

India Urged To Demilitarise LoC

24 April 2005
Agence France-Presse

Islamabad: President Pervez Musharraf has said India and Pakisan could mutually agree to demilitarise the Line of Control in Kashmir and send troops to barracks. President Musharraf said Indian troops on the LoC are about five times more than that of Pakistan. So this can be mutually agreed and he said: 'We must demilitarise the area to give comfort to the people,' Gen Musharraf told CNN in an interview. He said progress towards peace with India is irreversible as people of both the countries have overtaken their governments and the leaders' desire that peace and harmony may prevail in the sub-continent. 'I say this because people have overtaken their governments and leaders. The people have got involved and they showed desire and wish that peace and harmony may prevail in the sub-continent and therefore I say it is irreversible and all leaders will have to push it forward because people's force is behind it,' President Musharraf observed. Replying to a question about Kashmir, he said the solution has to be worked out but that has to be acceptable, most of all to the people of Kashmir, besides Pakistan and India. 'We have to deal with it sincerely so that we are not bluffing each other. We have to do it with flexibility.' The president said every 'one of us' has to step back and for that a degree of flexibility and boldness and courage is required because extremists will create obstacles on all sides. He said there was no doubt about the areas to be negotiated. 'This is what I have been saying,' he added. The president said the identified areas, mutually acceptable to all, have to be demilitarised to give comfort to the people. The people are suffering at the hands of large amounts of forces that are deployed there. India claims terrorism is going on while Pakistan stance is that there is a 'freedom struggle' going on. So all this can be resolved if there are no forces and the people of Kashmir themselves look after their own security, he said. To a question about how his idea is received in India, the Gen Musharraf said, 'I think it is received well.' He said it was premature to discuss the next steps. President Musharraf said the media and the people should be allowed to discuss the options, 'So that we can learn from them. If we show our cards now, may be it will derail the process before it is initiated,' he said.


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