World realizes need to resolve Kashmir: Musharraf
7 May 2005
The News International
Rawalpindi: President General Pervez Musharraf said Saturday there is a growing realization in India and the international community that long- standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute must be resolved permanently for lasting peace and progress in South Asia. The president said the past accords between Pakistan and India failed to establish durable peace as they did not address the underlying cause of tension. He was addressing senior civil servants of the 82nd National Management Course at Pakistan Administrative Staff College, who called on him here Saturday morning. The president pointed out that in the changed international environment the world has also realised that coercive diplomacy cannot lead to durable settlement of lingering disputes including Kashmir. 'The international community views Kashmir as a flashpoint in the post-2002 stand-off between Pakistan and India and feels that a peaceful resolution to the problem is imperative,' he stated in his over two-hour interaction with the senior bureaucrats. Referring to the peace process between the two countries, he said Pakistan believes that confidence building measures and the composite dialogue should move in tandem. On Muzaffarabad-Srinagar Bus Service, he said it has been commenced to facilitate Kashmiris to meet their divided families. President Musharraf emphasized that the quest for the Kashmir settlement could not go on indefinitely. In his wide-ranging address, the president touched upon key challenges and opportunities, the country faces today and asked the civil servants to be agents of change and serve as facilitators. 'The bureaucracy should serve as facilitators of service to the people and blockers of corruption, a malaise that harmed the country in the past. 'You should not shy from even recommending amendments in the rules that impede provision of efficient services to the people - you should guarantee progress and prosperity and never let the nation down,' he urged. President Musharraf also stressed on the higher tiers of civil service to set personal example for their subordinates to emulate and adhere strictly to the policy of merit. 'You must always remember that the nation comes first. We have introduced reforms to make the system subservient to the people and now it is your duty to deliver above all considerations. At the same time, the civil servants should strive for achieving expertise in the respective fields.' Responding to a question, he said the local government system has introduced the much-needed checks and balances. The nazim, being an elected representative of the people, is responsible for good governance at the grassroots level and therefore, has been entrusted with administrative powers. Dilating on the economy, the president said having achieved significant progress in the last five years, the government is now focused on poverty reduction through a holistic strategy. The strategy revolves around creation of job opportunities through continued growth in both agrarian and urban areas, completion of development projects, encouragement of small businesses and targeted interventions to reach out to the poorest of the poor and enable them stand up on their feet. Enumerating some of the crucial achievements on the economic front, the president said debt servicing has been reduced, development allocations have increased, exports have doubled to US $ 14 billion this year, remittances have surged to US $ four billion and foreign direct investment has seen a marked rise in the last six months. He said the government wants wider distribution of wealth and in this respect has encouraged small and medium enterprises, which have come up in a big way as evident from their presence at Sunder Industrial Estate in Lahore. The government is also endeavouring to overcome price hike and provide relief to the common man, he added. Pakistan, he stressed, is a key member of the Islamic world and a progressive and moderate country playing an important role in world affairs, he said.