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Visit is about Kashmir, not cricket: Musharraf

Source: PTI
April 09, 2005 22:47 IST
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Ahead of his visit to India next week, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday he would give importance to discussing the Kashmir issue rather than watching the Indo-Pak cricket match in Delhi.

"My visit on April 16 is not important in the context of cricket but the discussions I propose to have on Kashmir," Musharraf said addressing a student convention in Islamabad.

The road to peace

During his two-day visit, Musharraf will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and watch the last one-day international cricket match of the Indo-Pak series on April 17.

Musharraf described the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service as a "right step" and said the decision to begin the road link was made after receiving feedback that an overwhelming majority of Kashmiris were in favour of it.

He asserted the people should "appreciate good things" before "condemning" them.

That's simply not cricket

"When something good is being done, it should not be negated," he said observing that the bus service was a good confidence building measure but not a solution to the Kashmir issue.

"CBMs are a contribution towards the progress of the people. It is not total. You cannot say it is nothing or a zero. They are something, not enough but. I also say that more needs to be done," he said to a female student from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir who criticized the service.

Before the bus service began, extensive "consultations" were held with Kashmiris in Jammu and Kashmir and PoK to find out whether they favoured it or not, Musharraf said.

"It is not for Pakistan and India but for Kashmiris on both sides who wanted to meet and travel. This is a right step. You should support it. The effort would be to resolve the Kashmir dispute," he added.

Beware of Musharraf!

Since the visit was finalised, hectic backdoor diplomacy was on between officials of both the countries to prepare the ground work for talks between Singh and Musharraf on Kashmir and other contentious issues.

Official sources here said former Indian diplomat and S K Lamba and Musharraf's close confidant and Secretary of the Pakistan's National Security Council Tariq Aziz have been holding secret talks to prepare a broad agenda for the meeting.


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