Summit will lead to Kashmir solution: Musharraf
7 July 2001
The News International
ISLAMABAD: President and Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday that the forthcoming summit would help initiate the process leading to the resolution of the Kashmir issue.He was addressing a group of intellectuals and think-tanks, including former foreign ministers, former service chiefs, retired senior civil and military officials, poets and academics. The group extended its support to the president for his India visit.President Musharraf invited the group as part of the consultation he has been holding with different segments of society prior to his summit meeting with the Indian prime minister. Referring to views and sentiments expressed during the meeting, former foreign minister Sahibzada Yaqoob Khan said he was happy to find consensus among all segments of society both on the policy being pursued and the approach to be taken in seeking a resolution to the Kashmir issue ,which, he said, has prevented normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India for more than half a century.The participants endorsed the president's consistent and principled policy towards Pakistan-India relations and in particular the core issue of Kashmir, which they described as "the heart of the problem."The president reiterated that while he was proceeding to New Delhi with an open mind, he was firm as were all Pakistanis on the centrality of the issue of Kashmir. He said he was, however, prepared to discuss all other issues as well during his meeting with the India leaders.Responding to suggestions and observations by speakers, President Musharraf emphasised that no solution to the Kashmir problem could be achieved without the involvement of the people of Kashmir. He said he had, therefore, consulted the Kashmiri leadership. He expressed the confidence that the people of Kashmir would achieve their right of self-determination sooner than later.The meeting was attended by Gohar Ayub Khan, Sahibzada Yaqoob Khan, Agha Shahi, Sartaj Aziz, Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali, Dr Mubashir Hassan, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, Admiral (retd) Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey, General (retd.) Mirza Aslam Beg, General (retd) K M Arif, Roedad Khan, Niaz A Naik, Lt-Gen (retd) F S K. Lodhi, Lt-Gen (retd) Nishat Ahmed, Lt-Gen (retd) Talat Masood, Lt-Gen (retd) Muhammad Naseer, Dr Shireen Mazari, Prof Laeeq Ahmed Khan, Dr M A Bhatty and Iftikhar Arif..