Kashmir Can't Be Ignored For Long: Musharraf
23 August 2005
Rawalpindi: President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday said Kashmir was a burning issue which could not be put on back burner any longer, 'But I'm optimistic Islamabad and New Delhi would sort out the longstanding conflict through ongoing peace process', the president told delegates of the executive council meeting of Association of Asian Parliament for Peace here at the Army House. Gen Musharraf said Pakistan was for peaceful coexistence with its neighbours and had no aggressive designs against any state. He said, 'We're doing our best to remove irritants hindering South Asian peace.' We're pursuing peace process with India very sincerely and pins high hopes on it. We expect this will help us both resolve conflicts especially Kashmir', he said. He said international community especially Asian parliamentarians would have to come forward for early Kashmir settlement that, according to him, would promise peace, progress and prosperity of the entire region. The president said Asia had SAARC Shanghai Forum like forums but they were required to be reinforced so that they could contribute to resolving regional disputes. He also said Asian countries would have to act together to fight terrorism, poverty, backwardness. 'Self-reliance is equally important for us to progress.' He said political reforms and strong check-and-balance mechanism put in place by his government had strengthened national institutions and democracy was taking roots in the country. 'We've laid the foundation of sustainable democracy in Pakistan and democracy would flourish here in the future', he said. He said eliminating terrorism and extremism was in the larger interest of entire Asia but the world would have to find out and attend to causes emanating the menace. President Pervez Musharraf said the elected assemblies will complete their term and general elections in Paksitan would take place in the year 2007. Speaker National Assembly Chaudhry Amir Hussain and PML Secretary General Mushahid Hussain Sayed were also present in the call. The Asian countries need to supplement each others economies to achieve the long-sought goal of across the board development and prosperity of our people, he said. The President particularly highlighted the need for bringing South and Central Asian countries into the mainstream of Asian development. The Parliamentarians appreciated the Pakistan's recent strides and reforms towards a vibrant democratic dispensation. Commenting on the local government elections, the AAPP members said wider and enthusiastic participation of the people in these elections is reflective of their trust in the democratic system.