February 2004 News

No Unilateral Flexibility On Kashmir: President

5 February 2004
The Dawn

Muzaffarabad: President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Thursday reaffirmed Pakistan's moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmir cause and said both Islamabad and New Delhi would have to show flexibility on the issue for peace in South Asia. Addressing the joint sitting of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly and the AJK Council here on the Kashmir Solidarity Day, President Musharraf ruled out any unilateral flexibility by Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute. 'We will have to leave our stated positions, both (Pakistan and India) will have to show flexibility... only then we can reach a solution,' he said and added that there could not be any unilateral flexibility. 'If we stick to our stated positions, we will not move forward,' he said. Referring to the confidence-building measures (CBMs) taken by the two countries recently, he said there was a connectivity between those and the dialogue process, that addressed the Kashmir cause. 'It is not possible to have the CBMs without the dialogue process and without taking up the Kashmir issue,' he said and added: 'I have told the world leaders clearly that these have to be together and if not, then we will go back to square one.' He said that for the first time important developments were on the cards on the Kashmir issue and referred to the joint statement following his meeting with the Indian prime minister. He said that for the first time it was put in writing that Kashmir was a dispute which needed to be resolved and there was a need to have a composite dialogue on all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir. He said the statement also mentioned that Pakistan would not let its territory be used for any terrorist activity. This, he said, was a longstanding stance by Pakistan and had often been reiterated. Pakistan, he said, drew clear distinction between terrorism and a just freedom struggle. 'We are very clear about the distinction... a freedom struggle is not terrorism... this should be clear to all,' he said. He said his statement about the United Nations Security Council resolutions had been quoted out of context. He said if the dialogue process continued and included the Kashmir cause, and there was a move towards a solution then we will have to show some flexibility to move forward. The president strongly refuted allegations by some 'opportunist elements' of a sellout on Kashmir. 'These elements are neither able to achieve some good nor let others do something productive,' he said. 'We have to take Kashmir towards a solution. There are two vital national interests of Pakistan - the Kashmir and Pakistan's nuclear missile programme - anyone who sells out either of these is a traitor.' The president called for a step-by- step approach to resolution of Kashmir issue. He said the first two steps; to initiate the talk process and to recognize Kashmir as a dispute had been accomplished. The next two steps, he said, were a bit difficult. The things not acceptable to Pakistan, Kashmiris and India have to be eliminated and finally issues acceptable to all are to be taken up. He said it was at the last stage that flexibility needed to be shown by all the sides. 'We have to be realistic at this final stage,' he said. The president assured the Kashmiri leadership that he would do his best to seek a solution to the issues concerned. He said: 'Trust me let the talks begin and I will do my best.' He assured the Kashmiri leaders of his full support and said: 'I am not deceiving you, I will do my best to find a solution, and if I cannot do something, I will leave.' He sought the support and trust of the Kashmiri leadership and said the matter cannot move forward without their participation. 'There cannot be a solution which is not acceptable to all sides,' he added. He urged the Kashmiri leadership to forge unity amongst their rank and file as 'strength lies in unity and not in disunity.' 'Only by standing united could we move towards achieving a solution,' he said. He said that wars had pushed back the South Asian region far behind. 'We have failed to achieve success and progress because of our failure to understand realities. We need to face the facts and try to move towards a solution.' He said Pakistan- India talks would take place from Feb 16 to 18, the election process in India would come to an end soon and they would have a new government. 'Whether we have made some progress on composite dialogue or not will be clear this year.' The president said he had informed the world leaders 'we need progress (in talks) otherwise all efforts will go waste.' 'The entire world accepts this fact and here in lies our success,' he said. He regretted that some elements, in the name of Jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan, were carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan which could not be allowed. 'They are damaging Pakistan and will never succeed,' he said and asked such elements not to bring a bad name to Jihad by their evil designs. The President said the Kashmir Solidarity Day was a day to express solidarity and pay tribute to sacrifices of over 80,000 martyrs, who laid down their lives for the cause of Kashmir. 'My presence here reflects this commitment that we will not let their sacrifices go waste. 'We are at a stage where the sacrifices of 80,000 martyrs can bear fruit.' He said there were three objectives of the Solidarity Day - to renew our faith in the solidarity between Pakistanis and Kashmiris, to renew pledge that Pakistan will never forget Kashmir and to renew that Pakistan wants a peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute and till that time, will continue to extend its moral, political and diplomatic support.


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