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J&K: Musharraf offers to join fight against terror

January 07, 2006 18:36 IST
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Claiming complete support of the army for his peace initiatives with India, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has offered to join the fight against terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir if New Delhi agrees to pull out troops from Srinagar, Kupwara and Baramulla, considered to be the hotbed of militancy.

In a candid interview to Karan Thapar for CNN/IBN TV news channel, Musharraf also said he was disappointed at the lack of progress in the peace process and complained there was "not much" response from India to the ideas thrown by him for resolution of the Kashmir issue.

Refuting perception that some of his top commanders do not back his peace initiatives with India, Musharraf said he would "throw out" any corps commander if he declined to obey his orders or opposed them.

"Let me tell you, this is not a banana republic army. It is an army that fought wars. It is an extremely disciplined army. It is totally loyal and committed to me. I know that," he said in the interview to be telecast Sunday.

Asserting that the Pakistan army backed his policies 1,000 per cent, he termed as nonsense reports in the Pakistani media stating that a "powerful clique of religious parties within the military establishment" worked against him.

"If they were, they would be out of the army tomorrow. I would not be worth my salt, if I am army chief and these people are doing that," he said.

On the peace process, Musharraf charged the Indian leadership with studiously avoiding responses to his proposals on self-governance and demilitarisation.

As part of his demilitarisation proposals, he said the Indian government should withdraw troops from Srinagar, Kupwara and Baramulla, where militancy has strong roots, and Pakistan would join India to ensure that no incidents of terrorism takes place.

"Let me give another bombshell, I propose, one way of moving forward. Take three towns, Srinagar, Kupwara and Baramulla. Let all the military move out of the cities to the outskirts. It will ensure there is no militancy inside. Pakistan will be with the Indian government and Kashmiris to ensure that there will total peace and tranquility in these three places. Look at the comfort level it brings. It does not need any constitutional amendments or anything like that. It just needs an administrative order," he said.

He reiterated his formula to divide the united princely Kashmir State of 1947 into seven regions with joint control of some of the disputed regions to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Musharraf said he was disappointed over the lack of progress of the peace process.

"A degree of disappointment in me is setting in. I am throwing up ideas, but the ideas are not coming from the other direction. Not much of response. That is why the disappointment," he said.

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