Musharraf’s Policies Harmed Kashmir Issue, Says Sharif

26 June 2008

Lahore: Targeting President Pervez Musharraf for his Kashmir policy, former premier Nawaz Sharif today said that it had harmed the issue and claimed his government was moving to resolve the dispute when it was deposed in 1999. Sharif, who met a team of the separatist Hurriyat Conference, said he would continue supporting efforts to find a solution to the Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Sharif, whose PML-N party is a key member of the ruling coalition, told the delegation led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq that the government headed by him in 1999 had also backed the Kashmiris and asserted that peace in the region is impossible without the amicable solution of the Kashmir dispute. Sharif also rejected President Pervez Musharraf’s policies on Kashmir, saying “these policies have harmed the issue”. He said that his government was moving towards resolving the Kashmir dispute when a “dictator took over” and the process was halted. The Hurriyat team, which is visiting Pakistan at Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s invitation for consultations with the country’s top leadership, met Sharif at his residence at Raiwind here and left for India. At the Lahore airport, Farooq said the visit was very successful. The Pakistan government and political parties gave the Hurriyat their full support, he said. Besides Sharif, the Hurriyat team met Pakistan People’s Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.