President: Pak to blame for J&K situation
19 February 2001
The Asian Age
New Delhi: President K.R. Narayanan has reiterated India’s sincere commitment to a peaceful and permanent solution to the Kashmir issue along with its readiness to resume the dialogue process provided Pakistan creates an atmosphere conducive for talks. In his 25-page address to the joint session of Parliament on the opening day of the Budget Session on Monday, Mr Narayanan held Pakistan responsible for the ongoing killings in the Valley, saying such acts of barbarism could not be cloaked behind the garb of jihad. The President said that despite India’s repeated initiatives in this regard, there had been no let up in cross-border terrorism and anti-India propaganda originating from Pakistani soil. Pointing out how India had repeatedly extended the unilateral ceasefire first announced in the holy month of Ramzan, the President said, “It is a matter of deep distress and concern to all of us that Pakistan has not reciprocated India’s sincerity. There has been no let up in, much less an end to, cross-border terrorism and vicious anti-India propaganda originating from Pakistani soil. Many innocent lives continue to be lost every day to acts of barbarism by those who cloak them in the garb of jihad.” The President said, “Pakistan bears the responsibility for these acts against humanity, which are a travesty of religion.” Saying Pakistan should first end its support to militancy in the Valley before any talks could be resumed, he said “its protestations about its eagerness to resume talks with India will not carry conviction so long as it allows the terrorists’ guns and bombs to do the talking.” Mr Narayanan minced no words in saying, “Should Pakistan create an atmosphere conducive for meaningful talks, India will be more than ready to resume the dialogue process.” He said militancy in Jammu and Kashmir was now increasingly confined to foreign mercenary groups since the ceasefire initiative had drawn a positive response from the people there.