Sunday, January 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pervez plays to gallery
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 12
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today primarily sought to address the domestic constituency and the USA while blew hot and cold to India without giving any assurances on the over-riding Indian concern: cross-border terrorism.

The Government of India would come out with its detailed reaction in a day or two but there is unanimity in the top echelons of power here to keep up the military pressure on Pakistan. Not a single Indian soldier would be asked to retreat from his position on the borders by a single inch, well-placed sources here said, after Gen Musharraf’s speech.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) would soon be convened to conduct a thorough post-mortem of the Indo-Pak military standoff in the wake of Gen Musharraf’s speech and decide on the future course of action. The CCS is likely to take place on January 14 or 15, soon after Union Home Minister L K Advani’s return from the US and Defence Minister George Fernandes’s departure for the US, sources said.

Reacting to Gen Musharraf’s speech, former Foreign Secretary S K Singh told “The Tribune” that Gen Musharraf today sought “to please the Anglo-Saxon community, made an internal agenda for himself which will keep him in power for the next 10 or 20 years and given direction to Pakistan away from the religious Islamic polity to a secular polity.”However, Mr Singh said Gen Musharraf had been quite rough and harsh in his speech with India both on Kashmir and on the war-like situation which was there in the subcontinent. “What is important is that he has made no specific commitment in his speech to stop cross-border terrorism.”

Another Pakistan expert, Mr S K Datta, former Director of the CBI, who is presently a member of the strategic group on Pakistan and Afghanistan, said Gen Musharraf had not done anything substantial on reduction of tension between India and Pakistan over the issue on attack on Parliament and Kashmir Assembly. “Musharraf has simply condemned these two attacks as he had had done earlier. He has not said anything on whether the terrorists in these attacks were Pakistanis or non-Pakistanis,” Mr Datta said.

Asked if Gen Musharraf’s speech addressed the Indian concerns, Mr Datta said: “It does not satisfy us at all. He has taken the same stand and brought back the 1948 UN Security Council Resolution which UN Secretary General Kofi Annan himself has discarded. He only tried to do a balancing game without giving any assurance to India.”

While Mr Singh felt that India would now come under pressure to resume negotiations with Pakistan, Mr Datta was categoric that nothing of the sort was the case.

Former Air Chief N C Suri said Gen Musharraf’s speech did not satisfy the Indian aspirations at all. “It is clear that he has made the speech under the American pressure. He showed us a thumb on the issue of handing over of 20 terrorists and criminals,” Air Chief Marshal (retd) Suri told this correspondent. 

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