February 2001 News

Musharraf dreams of making history by solving J&K crisis

9 February 2001
The Asian Age
Ashok Tuteja

Dubai: While dreaming of going down in history as one who resolved the Kashmir issue, Pakistan military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf has accused India of showing “lack of sincerity” in the settlement of the lingering dispute. In an interview to Gulf News, he also made it clear that he was personally against talking of a solution to the Kashmir issue before initiation of a dialogue between the two countries “because of the fear that we may get detracted.” Gen. Musharraf said “let us start the dialogue and then talk about the solutions, what are the courses open which will be acceptable by all the three parties — India, Pakistani and the Kashmiri people.” Asked if he would like to be remembered as the leader who resolved the Kashmir issue, “I certainly would like to go down in history and it will be a realm to solve this long-standing dispute.” He was of the view that the only way towards striking at the root cause of religious extremism, militancy and terrorism was to resolve Kashmir and Afghanistan issues. “Once there is peace in these two areas, there would be no requirement for anybody from all around the world to concentrate here and to help in the freedom struggle that is going on. From that point of view also, it is important that Kashmir is resolved.” Launching a blistering attack on India with regard to the Kashmir issue, Gen. Musharraf said “one sees a deliberate attempt by them to avoid talking of resolution of Kashmir as such.” “They will talk of peace and harmony and confidence-building measures, reducing tension but they take a lot of pain in avoiding saying — through the resolution of the Kashmir issue.” This, he said, was his regret. He, however, hastened to add that he saw a change in the statements and attitudes of Indian leaders. “I also see a change in their attitude and the attitude of the media. So these are encouraging signs.” The military leader said if the public opinion in India changed, the Indian government might have a free hand and show more flexibility towards initiating a meaningful dialogue.


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