March 2006 News

'Manmohan should respond to Musharraf's proposals'

19 March 2006
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: Kashmir is purely a political issue that needs a political solution and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should reciprocate 'positively' to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's proposals, National Conference president Omar Abdullah said on Sunday. 'I found President Musharraf a forthright person. He doesn't say ten things before coming to the point and is keen to resolve Kashmir issue,' he said. Discussions in Pakistan Addressing partymen after being given a grand reception on his return from Pakistan, he said he discussed the Kashmir issue and possible solutions such as 'autonomy,' 'self- rule' and 'self-governance' with Gen. Musharraf. Mr. Abdullah said when Gen. Musharraf asked him about his party's stand on autonomy he told him: 'In our autonomy, India's control will be limited to defence and communications, currency and foreign affairs, and the rest will remain with the Kashmiris.' 'Autonomy best solution' His party believed that Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir should be given autonomy. 'I told Pervez Musharraf that our party believes autonomy is the best possible solution to the issue. He hoped that the leadership of India and Pakistan would exhibit courage and vision to resolve the issue. 'I will request Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reciprocate to proposals of Pakistan President so that the sufferings of Kashmiris end.' Advocating the involvement of militants in talks, Mr. Abdullah said those with Kashmir origin should be included in the dialogue process, and not foreigners. 'I met many Kashmiri youth who have crossed the LoC [Line of Control] to acquire arms training. They are desperate to come back and I will take the issue with the Government of India.'


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