US talking to Pak to ensure peaceful J&K polls
7 September 2002
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: The United States is talking to Pakistan to ensure elections in Jammu and Kashmir are violence-free, a senior US official said. US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said the United States was ''supporting full, free and fair and open elections in Jammu and Kashmir.'' ''And we are talking with our Pakistani friends making sure that these elections are held free of violence,'' Armitage said. He said Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had told him that he condemned violence during the J&K elections, which are taking place in four phases beginning on September 16, although Pakistan does not support the elections. Armitage added that some people in Pakistan were ''furious that we were promoting open, free and fair elections (in J&K).'' He said the Indian government had also said that violence- free elections in Jammu and Kashmir could possibly lead to dialogue with Pakistan. He said Washington''s successes in Afghanistan had ''created conditions in which we may eventually have a better Pakistan''.