Monday, July 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Let J&K poll be peaceful: USA

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf speaks to the media
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf (L) speaks to the media as US Secretary of State Colin Powell looks on during their meeting in Islamabad on Sunday. — Reuters photo

Islamabad, July 28
Urging India to ensure free and fair elections in Jammu and Kashmir, US Secretary of State Colin Powell today asked Pakistan to let the poll take place without interference from militants as he refused to back President Pervez Musharraf’s assertion that incursions have ended.

India should do everything to ensure that the poll in Kashmir met international standards by permitting independent observers. All parties should also ensure that they are held without interference from those opposed to it, Mr Powell said while addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Inamul Haq.

“All parties must do their part to ensure that the upcoming elections can be held in safety and without interference from those who wants to spoil those elections,” he said after talks with General Musharraf.

“If the Kashmiris want to run and vote in the elections, they should be allowed to do so without endangering their lives,” he said without directly referring to threats from a Pakistan-based militant group Jamait-ul-Mujahideen that it would kill anyone taking part in the poll process.

Mr Powell said the USA saw the poll as the first step leading to resumption of dialogue between the two countries, though they “can’t resolve problems between India and Pakistan nor can they erase scars.”

On General Musharraf’s assertion that infiltration into Kashmir had stopped, Mr Powell said, “We still are not able to say that they have been stopped, although they have gone down.”

“But we’ll be watching this very carefully and assessing the points of view of the two sides as we move forward,” he said.

Mr Powell said the Indians have a different view on infiltration. “Obviously, as you all know, the Indians have a different view as to whether or not the infiltrations across the Line of Control has stopped.”

The Secretary of State stressed that the important thing was that tensions between the two neighbours had come down.

“The important thing to take note of is the fact that tension has gone down significantly, and even the Indians acknowledge that to a degree cross-border infiltration has gone down,” he said adding, “quantifying it and whether it is a zero or something above zero, I think is the challenge as we move forward.”

In his discussion with the President and the minister, Mr Powell said, “I emphasised the need to do everything possible to make that case. “We appreciate the assurances given by Musharraf to me on previous occasions. We will be watching closely what is happening on the ground,” he said.

“US views Pakistan’s assurance to permanently seize the infiltration activity across the LoC as an important commitment. We also look to India to take further de-escalatory actions as Pakistan makes good of its promises. It is time to make regional stability permanent. Kashmir is on international agenda. US will extend helping hand to all sides,” he said.

Asked whether he brought any new proposals to resolve the Kashmir issue, Mr Powell replied in the negative.

“This is an issue that has to be resolved between the two parties. The two parties will have to resolve. We are happy to come with ideas,” the US envoy said. UNI


Replace PoK govt, says Hurriyat

Islamabad, July 28
With Assembly elections round the corner in Jammu and Kashmir, differences between the Pakistan chapter of Hurriyat and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir government deepened as demands were raised to replace the ruling dispensation in the PoK.

Raising a banner of revolt, Hurriyat leaders charged the PoK government with having failed to provide Kashmiri immigrants the rights of franchise and employment.

They also alleged that the government had failed to play any role in projecting the Kashmir issue in international fora.

Deepening the crisis, PoK Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan’s representative Haider Farooq yesterday failed to turn up at a meeting with the Hurriyat leadership for reconciliation talks.

Frustrated over not able to find a solution, the Hurriyat demanded the PoK government, led by the Muslim Conference, be replaced by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC).

“The RCC shall be replacing an elected government and it shall be an arrangement extraneous to the constitution of 1974. The vires of our demand are that the government of PoK is trying to deceive the people of Kashmir and we are deeply concerned in this regard. This may, of course, qualify as a sufficient cause to make a demand for its replacement by the RCC”, said a letter sent by the Hurriyat to various organisations. PTIBack

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |