Demilitarise Kashmir, Pak Tells India
31 May 2005
The Hindustan Times
Islamabad: Ruling out autonomy as a solution to the Kashmir issue, Pakistan on Tuesday said demilitarisation was a pre-requisite for empowering the people of Jammu and Kashmir with the right to self-determination. 'President Pervez Musharraf has never advocated granting autonomy or semi-autonomy as a solution to the Kashmir issue,' Pakistan's foreign office spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani was quoted as saying by the official APP news agency. Jilani reiterated Musharraf's remarks and said his statements included 'un-acceptability of a solution based on the Line of Control, respect to the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, resolution of the dispute which is acceptable to all the stakeholders including Pakistan, India and Kashmir, and demilitarisation which is a prerequisite for extending right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and finally empowering the people of Jammu and Kashmir'. The spokesman said Musharraf had not proposed autonomy or semi-autonomy to any part of Kashmir as a solution. 'The president never made any such statement,' Jilani said. Media reports had said Musharraf had proposed autonomy as one of the solutions to the Kashmir dispute. 'Musharraf in his quest to seek a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue made certain remarks in recent weeks. But he never talked about autonomy,' the APP report said. Jilani said there was a need to focus on efforts, discussions and consultations to find a lasting solution to the Kashmir dispute that has also been articulated in the joint statement issued by Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on April 18.