Pervez misled Pak over Kashmir: PPP, PML
21 July 2001
The Asian Age
Islamabad: The Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League on Saturday criticised President Pervez Musharraf for “misleading” the people of the country that they had failed to highlight the Kashmir issue with Indian leaders in the past and charged him with “perpetuating” his rule by “manipulating” the issue. “General Musharraf blatantly used the Agra summit to perpetuate his illegitimate rule and get him recognised as President by the Indian leadership,” the two mainstream parties — the PPP, led by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and the PML, headed by deposed Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif — said. In Friday night’s televised press conference, Gen. Musharraf had alleged that politicians have no courage to talk about Kashmir and said the “politicians did nothing to resolve the core issue of Kashmir.” Reacting to the military ruler’s allegations, a PPP spokesperson Faratullah Babar said Gen. Musharraf was “blatantly and brazenly” using the Kashmir issue and the Indo-Pak relations to strengthen his hold on the presidency. Mr Babar said Gen. Musharraf has “cleverly” used India’s invitation to “sneak” into the presidency. Less than a month after India invited him, he ousted incumbent President Rafiq Tarar and declared himself President on June 20, he said. “He is now attempting to consolidate his hold on the presidency by getting an endorsement from the local body representatives after the completion of the local body polls, currently underway,” Mr Babar said and demanded that the military ruler hold general elections and restore democracy. Questioning Gen. Musharraf’s attempt to hold the Indo-Pak relations a “hostage” to the single issue of Kashmir, he said “Kashmir undoubtedly is the issue between two countries that has led to the conflict. Therefore efforts should be made to manage the conflict as it cannot be resolved overnight.” He said there should be a step-by-step approach to resolve the issue than holding the Indo- Pak relations a “hostage” to the Kashmir problem. “Musharraf used the summit for his benefit to capture the presidency and used the failure of Agra summit to consolidate his constituency,” he said.