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Musharraf rakes up Kashmir issue in China

By Anil K Joseph in Beijing
February 21, 2006 20:08 IST
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Raking up the Kashmir issue during his China visit, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said on Tuesday that not much progress has been made on 'conflict resolution' with India.

The Pakistani leader also urged for 'flexibility' and 'courage' by New Delhi, Islamabad and the Kashmiri people to resolve the lingering problem, which spawned terrorism and extremism.

Musharraf, on the third of his five-day state visit to China, said India and Pakistan were following a dual track of confidence building measures and 'conflict resolution' to address all outstanding issues.

Although the CBMs were going ahead, there is no desired progress on the front of 'conflict resolution', he said while speaking at the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a leading Chinese government think-tank.

In 'conflict resolution', Musharraf emphasised the centrality of the Kashmir problem, which has been at the heart of Indo-Pak tension and said it has led to wars between the two south Asian neighbours. He said that showing of flexibility and courage by all the three parties - Pakistan, India and the Kashmiri people - is required to resolve the problem.

Everyone will have to move back from their stated positions as sticking to old stances would lead nowhere, he said and referred to his proposals of de-militarisation and self-governance in Kashmir as the way forward to resolve the issue in an acceptable manner for all three parties.

"I believe if we have to find a final solution, all the three parties involved, have to step back from stated positions. I always believe the courage required to confront and to fight is much lesser than the courage required to reconcile and accommodate," Musharraf said.

He added - "Pakistan is willing to do that. We have put forward many ideas for a solution> The main idea I have put forward is to dematerialise the region and to give self-governance to the people of Kashmir. However, this needs to be refined and new ideas have to be brought in but we have to move forward."

Speaking on the theme of 'Reflection on Contemporary Issues on Peace, Security and Development', he called for resolving all long-standing disputes with justice for peace and stability of the world.

"The Palestine and Kashmir disputes, which lie at the core of problems like extremism and terrorism at the moment, are ripe for resolution," he said, while urging all major powers especially US and China, to help resolve long-standing disputes.

"I would like to urge all world leaders to put in their voice for Pakistan and India to resolve this (issue) for the sake of peace and harmony in the world. The international community must raise its voice and tell all the parties involved to resolve the Kashmir dispute," Musharraf said.

He added that non-resolution of political disputes spawned terrorism and extremism, which, together with economic inequity, instituted the two other main threats to world peace and security.

"While the world saw a momentous development at the end of Cold War era in the last decade, new threats emerged because old disputes like Palestine and Kashmir persisted without resolution," Musharraf said.

The new disputes of Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, he said, have now added to the list of issues, posing danger to world peace and stability.

Giving his blueprint for a secure world, Musharraf also called for upholding the principles of the United Nations and making it a more potent body. He added that Pakistan supports the reform to make the UN a more representative and effective entity.

As expected, the Indo-Pak peace process figured prominently in talks between Musharraf and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on Monday.

Musharraf had briefed Hu on Pakistan-India ties and the two leaders exchanged views on the South Asia situation. "China would like Pakistan and India to improve relations by means of dialogue and resolve disputes like the Kashmir issue through negotiations," Hu told Musharraf.

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Anil K Joseph in Beijing
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