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Terror must not stall Indo-Pak talks: Musharraf

By Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
September 23, 2006 10:57 IST
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Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said the Indo-Pakistan dialogue process, which is going to resume soon, should never break down as result of any kind of terrorist activities as that would mean playing into the hands of terrorists.

Describing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a 'very positive and a very sincere person', Musharraf said the joint statement issued after his meeting with Dr Singh in Havana has 'seeds of success and forward movement'.

"Yes, the talks are going to start, and I believe that talks should never break down because of any kind of terrorist activity, which we condemn and strongly oppose. This is because it is the view, aim and objective of all terrorists is to make sure that these talks fail. So we'll be playing in their games if we allow the failure of talks because of these actions," Musharraf told students at the George Washington University on Friday.

"Having said that, I had a wonderful meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and I see him as a very positive and a very sincere person. The people of both the countries want peace and want us to succeed in resolving our disputes. And therefore it is up to the leadership to make sure that they get resolved," the Pakistani President added.

"The joint statement that both of us have issued has seeds of success and forward movement," Musharraf said.

"It is time that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and myself, we sit down and reach decisions and solutions, because I always believe that one should never suffer from paralysis through analysis," he said.

Musharraf hoped that both Dr Singh and he will be able to carry forward the peace process when the former visits Pakistan.

He also appealed to the people of India and Pakistan to show 'understanding and flexibility' and give support to both the leaders in resolving bilateral issues.

The Pakistani President said there are people who prefer to 'derail the process, do not want peace to come about. They have rigid positions. They don't want to move the peace process forward'.

"I appeal to the people of both countries to understand and give both of us support that we move forward," he said. "Let me tell you that there is a resolve on both sides to move the process forward."

In his formal remarks Musharraf spoke about socio-economic development and the kind of transformation Pakistan has been witnessing since he came to power.

Describing Pakistan as a 'rudderless ship on high seas in turbulent waters' at the time when he came to power, Musharraf said the country was 'failing' in all departments.

Indirectly criticising the political parties of Pakistan, Musharraf said he is the 'greatest believer' in democracy.

"Unfortunately, this may come hard to real democracy proponents, but there was no democracy in Pakistan. I have introduced sustainable democracy in Pakistan," he said, adding his country was witnessing vast social transformation including right to women during his rule. 

The Pakistani President also criticised western countries for their perception of developing nations.

"When sitting in a developed country like the United States, when you talk of any other country in the world like Pakistan, I observe sometimes on any issue, we see that country from the eyes of where you're sitting. You can never do that," he said.

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Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
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