Sunday, July 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Musharraf softens stand
Says India to decide on meeting with APHC

Islamabad, July 7
In an apparent softening of stand, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf tonight said his meeting with Hurriyat leaders during his visit to New Delhi depended on the Indian side as they seemed to be a little “hesitant” for such a meet.

“We have invited Hurriyat leaders to a reception of the High Commissioner on the evening of July 14. But I really don’t know. I am not sure, it depends on the Indian authorities whether they permit them to meet me or not”, General Musharraf said in a panel interview with selected journalists of different media organisations here today.

Yesterday, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan defended the move to invite the Hurriyat leaders, saying they had been invited in the past for all the important occasions like the country’s National Day.

“In the same tradition, invitation will be extended to them,” he said.

Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Vijay K. Nambiar last night conveyed to Foreign Secretary Inamul Haq New Delhi’s reservations over change in Pakistan’s stand on meeting Hurriyat leaders over-riding Indian objections.

About the impact of Indian decision not to allow the Hurriyat leaders to meet him, General Musharraf said, “Initially it may not impact that seriously because initially really very important issue is the Indian acceptance of this core issue (of Kashmir) and sincere desire of moving forward (on that)”.

“But, however, no forward movement subsequently is really possible without the participation of the Kashmiri leaders. I think it will be very unrealistic if the Kashmiris did not join this dialogue at some stage in the future”, he said.

About the Indian allegation of Pakistan supporting militancy in Kashmir, General Musharraf said: “Certainly we did not accept this allegation that Pakistan is fanning the trouble there. But we certainly have half of Kashmiris with us, and there are Kashmiris on this side and there are Kashmiris on the other side. There are sympathisers here. We certainly give diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris there.”

On his emphasising Kashmir repeatedly as the “core” issue for talks, General Musharraf said, “some Indian leaders are taking offense on why Kashmir should be emphasised over and over again. I don’t know why they take offense. PTI


Vajpayee to hold all-party meeting

New Delhi, July 7
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has convened an all-party meeting on July 9 to hold consultations ahead of his summit meeting with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf next week.

At least 35 leaders of political parties have been invited for the consultations, official sources said today.

As part of the consultation process, Mr Vajpayee had already met former Prime Ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao, V. P. Singh and Chandrashekhar. PTI

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