Wednesday, August 15, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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Kashmir solution must: Pak

Islamabad, August 14
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today said India and Pakistan could not progress without finding an amicable solution to the Kashmir issue and cautioned his countrymen that threat to Pakistanís unity and integrity emanated from extremist elements from within.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion of Pakistanís 54th Independence Day at a special function here, General Musharraf said, "I categorically stated on my return from Agra that we favour further talks on the Kashmir dispute and other issues of differences with India".

"Without sacrificing our sovereignty and national honour and national dignity, we are willing to go to any length in order to maintain friendly relations with all our neighbours. This is particularly true with regard to India because we are convinced that without an amicable solution to the thorny and long-standing Kashmir dispute, the two countries cannot progress and develop to the desired extent."

At the Independence Day function, which was held in the premises of the Presidential palace amid strict security and attended by cabinet ministers, top government officials, diplomatic core and the media, General Musharraf said he was grateful to the people of Pakistan for endorsing the "recent ventures in foreign policy."

"We have brought the Kashmir dispute out of the closet and made it the focus of world attention," he said.

General Musharraf said despite freezing the defence budget due to economic compulsions, the Pakistan armed forces, backed by the nuclear potential, provided complete security from external threat.

"Unfortunately, however, our threat emanates from within. Our economic malice coupled with intolerance and extremist attitude in certain quarters are the termites eating us from within" ,he said.

Talking to reporters at Rawalpindi after inaugurating a new train to Karachi, he said Pakistan wanted a peaceful resolution of all issues with India, including Jammu and Kashmir. "I have adopted a positive attitude and now the Indian leadership should respond in the same fashion so that our differences on various issues could be narrowed down". PTI
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