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Subject: President Musharraf - doable steps short of independence
chupooey    8/19/2006 10:09:18 AM
NEW DELHI, Aug 17: President Pervez Musharraf has set ‘doable’ parameters, short of independence, for resolving the Kashmir dispute, which, he says, can yield a friendship treaty with India and the withdrawal of the case from the United Nations Security Council, an Indian magazine reported on Thursday. In an interview with writer A.G. Noorani at his residence in Rawalpindi on Aug 1, President Musharraf lavished praise on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his predecessor Atal Behari Vajpayee, but said he suspected that Bharatia Janata Party leader Lal Kishan Advani had torpedoed a joint declaration he had worked out with Mr Vajpayee in Agra in July 2001. During the interview published in Frontline, President Musharraf condemned the Mumbai blasts and agreed with Mr Noorani’s proposal that the two countries set up troubleshooting contacts between their top security aides to calm things down in emergencies. Intelligence agencies should also stop targeting each other and start cooperating in a common cause against terrorism, he said. He said there were ‘freelance terrorists’ roaming around with an agenda that created problems between the two countries. He slammed Indian officials and media for always pointing an accusing finger at Pakistan. “This is very, very annoying. It is disappointing. One should not do this.” He said it was wrong to suggest that Pakistan was not doing its bit to curb militant groups hostile towards India. “Let me assure you this is the time when we have to move strongly against them. What I have done is, we have banned any organisation coming up by another name. Not only that, what I have done to fight extremism, as opposed to terrorism,” President Musharraf said. In Agra, he said, the two countries had lost a ‘great opportunity’ to resolve key issues. He gave a detailed account of what transpired in the moments when he went to change after agreeing on a draft declaration with Mr Vajpayee. He greeted his wife and prepared to take off for Ajmer after the ceremony, only to be told by then foreign minister Sattar of the disaster that had struck. When he met Mr Vajpayee before flying back, President Musharraf remembered saying: “Mr Prime Minister — these are exactly my words because it is pinching on my mind — I said, ‘Mr Prime Minister, today you and I both have been humiliated. Because I feel that what we agreed on, somebody above us, who had the veto power, rejects it. I don’t know who it is. But this is a humiliation for both of us.’ He just kept quiet. He was sitting with his head down and did not utter a word.” Speaking of his proposal for demilitarising Kashmir, President Musharraf said he had recently mentioned Srinagar, Baramulla and Kupwara for a reason. “Let the military move out of the cities and from the outskirts and let us declare it as a zone of peace. But that is also made fun of. Demilitarisation can be by steps. I do understand that you can’t remove thousands (at once). “One of the four steps after demilitarisation is self-governance. Let the people govern themselves,” the president said. Prime Minister Singh’s proposal for ‘institutional arrangements’ to bring the two sides of Kashmir closer was a good starter, he said. “This is a very good term,” President Musharraf said, adding that the idea of joint management of Kashmir was broached first by former Indian security adviser J.N. Dixit, which he had adopted. Dr Singh’s quest to make the Line of Control irrelevant was a good statement, the president said. Kashmiri representatives should sit together to work out the details. He said after the Kashmir settlement the two countries could crown the entire effort with a treaty of peace, friendship and cooperation as suggested by Dr Singh. Meetings with Prime Minister Singh “have always been very positive and very pleasant. I have never had any reservation in saying that I find in him sincerity and a desire to settle disputes. I can see that he wants to. I have said that everywhere. I hope that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh moves forward boldly.
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