March 2006 News

Musharraf rules out independent Kashmir

10 March 2006
The Daily Times
Mohammad Imran

Islamabad: President Pervez Musharraf ruled out on Friday the possibility of an independent Kashmir and said that the idea of self-governance was applicable in the present political scenario. The president made these remarks in a meeting with visiting Kashmiri leaders from across the Line of Control (LoC) here to attend a conference arranged by the Washington-based Pugwash think tank. “The president said that an independent Kashmir as a solution to the issue was not applicable because both India and Pakistan do not agree to it,” sources told Daily Times. The idea of self-governance is “acceptable and applicable”, the president was quoted as saying. “The president said that India had conveyed to Pakistan in categorical terms that it would not support the re-drawing of borders, while Pakistan had told the Indian authorities that the LoC as a permanent border was unacceptable,” sources said. “If the Kashmiris have any idea other than an independent state or self-governance, they should discuss it with me,” they quoted the president as saying. Agencies add National Conference Chairman Omar Abdullah said during the meeting with Musharraf that India should order the withdrawal of its troops from Kashmir as a confidence-building measure. Abdullah said that he had discussed his party’s proposal for granting more autonomy to Kashmir in talks with Musharraf as well as Pakistan’s suggestion for some sort of self-governance. “I think that there is very little difference in these proposals ... we can upgrade our proposal for autonomy if needed,” he said without elaborating. Musharraf urged the Indian leadership to come forth with a timely response to his self-governance and demilitarisation proposals. He said that demilitarisation would be a “huge confidence-building measure and it will also help discourage militancy”.


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