Kashmir solution could be India's quake donation, says Musharraf
19 November 2005
The Daily Times
Rana Qaisar and Shahzad Raza
Islamabad: President General Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday the resolution of the long-standing Kashmir dispute could be India's 'donation' to Pakistan's efforts to recover from the devastating October 8 earthquake.Gen Musharraf, making the keynote speech at the Donors' Conference here, pointed out the Indian delegation's presence at the conference and said 'Let the resolution of the lingering issue of Kashmir be India's donation to mitigate the sufferings of the Kashmiris.'He said the challenge of the earthquake could be converted to an 'opportunity of a lifetime' and asked the Indian leadership to 'grasp the fleeting moment' to resolve the Kashmir issue. The earthquake had led to a blossoming of goodwill between Kashmiris on both sides as well as between the people of India and Pakistan. 'Let's together resolve the Kashmir dispute once and for all and grasp the fleeting moment, let happiness emerge from the ruins of the tragedy,' he said, appealing to the Indian government, opposition, Indian and Pakistani media, business community, Indian- held Kashmir administration and All Parties Hurriyat Conference to contribute to peace efforts.'The earthquake has provided a rare fleeting opportunity to heal the relationship between the two South Asian nations. If leaders fail to grasp fleeting opportunities, they fail their nations and they fail their people.' The president said he believed that the challenge of this earthquake could be made an 'opportunity of a lifetime' to improve relations never previously available to India and Pakistan.At a later press conference, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz suggested that the five points opened at the Line of Control (LoC) be made permanent passages for Kashmiris living on both sides of the divide. 'I think the points are open once a week. We want they should be kept open (permanently) so that the earthquake victims can cross the LoC and meet their loved ones,' Aziz said, adding that the five points could also be used for bilateral trade between Pakistan and India. The prime minister said resolving the Kashmir dispute was in the larger interest of the people of both countries. He said Indian civil society and particularly businessmen must play a role in helping to resolve the dispute.