Pak killing J&K candidates: Vajpayee
13 September 2002
The Hindustan Times
United Nation: Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee hit back on Friday at Pakistani criticism of elections in Indian-administered Kashmir and accused Pakistan of killing candidates and intimidating voters. On Thursday, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told the UN General Assembly that the elections, scheduled to start on Monday, would be ''rigged'' and could set back peace efforts in the region. ''If the elections are a mere fraud, why are terrorists being trained and infiltrated into India at the command of the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency of Pakistan to kill election candidates and intimidate voters,'' Vajpayee asked. In his speech, Musharraf said ''elections under Indian occupation will not help peace,'' and added ''the people of Jammu and Kashmir must be allowed to exercise their right to determine their own future.'' Vajpayee hit back that the Kashmiris'' campaign for independence was based on the murder of innocent civilians. ''It requires an effort of logical acrobatics to believe that carnage of innocents is an instrument for freedom and elections are a symbol of deception and repression,'' he said. Vajpayee also accused Pakistan threatening India with its nuclear weapons. ''In our South Asian region, nuclear blackmail has emerged over the last few months as a new arrow in the quiver of state- sponsored terrorism,'' he said. ''Dark threats were held out that actions by India to stamp out cross-border terrorism could provoke a nuclear war,'' he said. India did not want a war, conventional or otherwise, he went on, but it was determined to put an end to acts of terrorism that had claimed thousands of innocent lives.