India, Pak Were Close To Seal Deal On Sir Creek, Siachen: Musharraf17 November 2011
Srinagar: Former Pakistan president General Parvez Musharraf has said that India and Pakistan were close to seal a deal on Sir Creek and Siachen issues in 2007 and papers to settle Kashmir issue were exchanged at the highest level. In an interview to a Delhi-based news channel, Musharraf said both the countries were moving forward on many issues, including Kashmir. Commenting on the four point formula mooted by him to settle Kashmir issue he said, “Yes we were, moving forward. And I must give equal credit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for being very sincere, for being very flexible, in accommodating points of views from my side and me accommodating his points of view. But then time came, and I had been to India, and the back channel was operative and we were moving forward on both Sir Creek and Siachen. We had done everything. Sir Creek, where the survey of the points was carried out jointly by two Navies, so we knew exactly where is the problem area, how does it extend to the sea. Now the only decision is, okay, this is the problem area, this is the disputed area. Are we dividing it into half? Are we having it as a common area? Are we having it as a no-go area? I mean I was absolutely open to, okay, take a decision and let's sign it. Whatever it is. Also Siachen. We had decided what are the troops to move behind which lines. So we were just stuck on some minor SD, in the military we call it SD issues, staff duty issues, which could very well just be resolved anytime.” Replying to a question whether both the countries had exchanged notes on any of the issues, he said, “Yes, I think, that was on Kashmir mainly. On these two (Siachen and Sir Creek) also. Yes, indeed, whatever we carried out is on paper. On Kashmir also, we were trying to move forward in drafting the deal. In 2007 it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's turn to come to Pakistan to seal the deals.” “We hadn't reached that stage where the final paper on Kashmir had been drafted. We were drafting. There were disagreements but we were trying to resolve them with an open mind. But the other two (Siachen and Sir Creek), and I had said that whenever you (Dr Singh) come, we have to sign some deal, otherwise it will be totally a failed visit. And he (Dr Singh) agreed. It was Dr Singh’s turn to come to Pakistan. Had he come we would have signed some deal. Whether, it was only Siachen and Sir Creek or Kashmir also. But unfortunately he didn't come,” he said. Musharraf said that Dr Singh should have visited Pakistan in 2007. “Some unrest had started in our country that is why he didn't come? But I feel he should have come. Had he come in 2007 the history of our countries, in a sense, could have been different today. I was prepared to sign deals,” Musharraf added. Asked whether Pakistan Army was fully on board he said, “There is an old misperception that the Army is the rogue which doesn't want a Kashmir solution, which doesn't want any solution, peace with India. This is absolute, you take it from me, if you believe that I speak the truth, this is absolutely wrong. We have been carrying out assessments in Pakistan. Pakistan Army is for resolution of Kashmir dispute, Siachen, Sir Creek, everything. We are all always, every general that I know, my predecessors, chiefs, have always been in favour of peace. But unfortunately, that is the misperception. And the rationale given by Pakistan's opponents, or whoever, is that Pakistan Army's importance will go. Negative. It will never go till the time that India has all its forces massed against Pakistan's borders. And we know that. Its Air Force's all forward air bases are on the Pakistan eastern border, India's forward air bases. All your offensive forces, the armoured division and mechanised division, all have locations against Pakistan. All infantry divisions, out of 31, 23 are arrayed against Pakistan. Your Navy is mostly on the west coast. So till such time that this does not go, Pakistan's military will always have to stay. So it's not the Kashmir dispute. So this is a total misperception which everyone keeps spreading. And a lot of Indians keep saying this to malign the Pakistan Army. Pakistan Army is for peace.” Asked about the militant groups active in Pakistan Musharraf said, “It has its history. Unfortunately, after 1989 when the Kashmir freedom struggle started, as far as we, we call it a freedom struggle. There were a number of, dozens of Mujahideen groups which sprang up in Pakistan, within our society. And these people had tremendous public support. All this Jaish-e-Muhammad and Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba, later on Jamaat-ud-Dawa, they are all products of the '90s. People voluntarily joined these groups and they are doing it even today,” but Musharraf was quick to add that things have changed. “Initially they had their own orientation towards Kashmir. And this is, I am talking of the '90s, and we have changed governments and all governments were following a certain policy as far as these people were concerned. And these people were, certainly, recruiting from Pakistan. These people were going across. It didn't need any military support. They all were doing it themselves. They were volunteers, thousands of them volunteering to go. And this was the reality. Now they kept growing and then 9-11 came in. And then Taliban and Al Qaeda and now their nexus developing with Taliban and Al Qaeda and they turning their guns even on Pakistan. Asked whether India’s Most Wanted Man Dawood Ibrahim was in Pakistan, he said that he couldn’t confirm whether he was there, but he was quick to add that he (Dawood) is being held in 'high esteem' by many in his country making his extradition 'complicated'.