Musharraf trying to sabotage J&K polls
14 August 2002
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Hitting back at Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for terming forthcoming elections in Jammu and Kashmir as ‘farcical’, India tonight accused him of trying to ‘sabotage’ the democratic process and heighten tensions by using provocative language. Reacting strongly to Musharraf’s remarks on the elections in J and K in his Independence Day address, New Delhi said Pakistan was displaying ‘every intention, every desire’ to disrupt the polls and warned it would take ‘necessary measures’ to counter such designs. Musharraf’s ‘denigration of the electoral process in J and K and indirect exhortations to boycott the elections, coupled with disowning responsibility for terrorist activity sponsored to disrupt the electoral process in J and K, indicate that our concerns that Pakistan intends to sabotage these elections are well founded’, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Nirupama Rao told reporters. In his speech, Musharraf termed the elections in J&K as ''farcical'' and said ''elections cannot be a substitute for a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations''. He also said the ''struggle for self determination of our Kashmiri brothers is a sacred trust with us which can never be compromised''. The MEA spokesperson said India was not surprised by Musharraf’s ''empty rhetoric'' on J and K ''though we would have expected him to use the opportunity to convey a more constructive message rather than recycle hackneyed thinking’’. Without mincing words, Rao said it is becoming increasingly clear, as India had suggested all along, that Musharraf had no intention of putting an end to the involvement of the Pakistani state and its agencies with terrorism, including cross- border terrorism. ‘’Our past skepticism, based on the wide gap between his words and actions, has once again been justified,’’ she contended. Instead of indicating what further measures he intended to take to end cross border infiltration and terrorism in keeping with his commitments of January 12, May 27 and June six, Musharraf had only repeated the ‘’time worm and frayed formulations about so-called self-determination and core dispute’’, she said. The ‘sacred trust’ that Musharraf spoke about to the people of his country should really be to establish a moderate and democratic Pakistan, free from military rule and networks of fundamentalist terrorism, she stressed. Attacking Musharraf for his remarks on the J and K elections, she said after the ‘’rigged referendum’’ and ‘’constitutional and political manipulations’’ that were going on before the October elections there, one would have hoped that he would have been more restrained in his pronouncements on the ensuing elections in J and K. ‘’Perhaps, it is the contrast between free and fair elections in J and K within the framework of India’s democracy and the national elections in Pakistan conducted by a military regime that worries him,’’ she said.