August 2006 News

Musharraf for joint control of Kashmir 

17 August 2006
The Nation

New Delhi: President Pervez Musharraf has floated suggestion to institutionalise arrangements to bring people from both sides of Kashmir closer. . Musharraf noted that 'none of us is in favour of their (Kashmir’s) independence' and suggested that a 'joint framework for self-governance' of Kashmir should be worked out as part of solution to the problem.  “Yes, I think that is a starter. This is a very good term,” he told noted constitutional expert AG Noorani in an interview for Frontline magazine when his attention was drawn to Singh’s recent remarks that there should be institutionalisation of arrangements to bring people from both parts of Kashmir closer, PTI reported here.  Musharraf was asked whether he would consider Singh’s suggestion as ‘an acceptable mode of joint management’ of the two parts of Kashmir. “The term ‘institutional arrangements’ is what I think is correct. But we need to define the modalities,” Musharraf said in the interview.  Musharraf said there needs to be ‘discussion and thought’ with regard to the idea of institutionalising the arrangement.  With regard to ‘autonomy’ for Jammu and Kashmir as advocated by New Delhi, he said the word creates confusion and ‘negative optics’, and needs to be replaced. Musharraf urged that both countries should repose trust and not to interfere in the internal affairs of each other.  He added there is lack of trust between Pakistan and India and both are destroying and creating trouble for each other either at government level or intelligence level.  “We must not interfere in each other’s internal problems, internal issues, and have the trust and confidence that these are freelance terrorists who are doing this. There are freelance terrorists who are roaming around and doing all this. We should join hands to investigate and move against them”, the president remarked.  He reiterated that right on the first day, with hardly any substantiated proof and evidence India is throwing the blame on Pakistan, “Pakistan is doing this as if I am getting this done. This is very, very annoying. It is disappointing. One should not do this.” Musharraf said he would support that internal security officials from both sides should meet each other and compare notes about respective threats to each other. Now time has come the intelligence agencies of both sides should reach an agreement to stop interference in each other’s internal affairs. “We also keep getting information of interference in our internal affairs. I have the evidence and proof of it.'  'India should know to treat Pakistan with sovereign equality. India should not take Pakistan to be a small little country, which can be bullied or bulldosed. That cannot be done to Pakistan,” he underlined. On Indian prime minister statement on making the LoC irrelevant, he said he thinks it is a good statement. To a question he said Northern Areas and Ladakh be kept aside from the question of grant of autonomous status as the former are of strategic significance for Pakistan and later for India. 


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