Monday, July 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Infiltration stopped, says Musharraf

Islamabad, July 28
Claiming infiltration of militants into Jammu and Kashmir has “certainly” been stopped, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today said it was time for India to de-escalate military tensions and resume dialogue.

General Musharraf, shortly before holding talks with US Secretary of state Colin Powell, told reporters that infiltration of militants into Kashmir from Pakistan had stopped and urged India to stop making “baseless” allegations and start talks to resolve Kashmir and all other issues between the two countries.

He said there was no infiltration taking place from the Pakistan side. “It has certainly stopped. It is not taking place. What India is saying is baseless”, he said in response to a question.

Asked what was Pakistan’s stand on reducing tensions between the two countries, General Musharraf said “our stand is that India must start a dialogue on Kashmir and all other issues”.

Later, addressing a joint press conference with Mr Powell, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Inamul Haq said Islamabad had taken substantive steps for reduction of tensions with New Delhi.

“We believe that it is time for military de-escalation and resumption of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the core issue of Kashmir in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people as well as all the other outstanding issues.

Asked about Pakistan’s view on the proposed elections to J and K Assembly, Mr Haq said the election under the UN Security Council resolutions of 1951 and 1957 was not a substitute for a plebiscite.

He charged that elections in Jammu and Kashmir were “massively” rigged in the past. “We do not know whether they will be rigged this time or not”, he said, adding that the final decision to participate in the poll rested with the Kashmiri people.

Referring to the Pak-US relations, Mr Haq said, “We appreciate the important role played by the USA in achieving this desirable objective”. PTI


India rejects Pak claim
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
India today politely, but firmly, dismissed Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s claim that the infiltration of terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir had stopped and described it as “terminological inexactitude”.

Ms Nirupama Rao, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said on the contrary there had been a spurt in cross-border infiltration in the past few weeks and India had already conveyed this to US Secretary of State Colin Powell and other friends in the international community..

About General Musharraf’s statement made this afternoon to reporters in Islamabad, the spokesperson said, “I do not want to be undiplomatic in my reaction to that. Let me say that it is a terminological inexactitude. The fact is that infiltration continues.”

General Musharraf had denied that infiltration was continuing. “It is not taking place. Whatever the Indian side is saying is absolutely baseless. I don’t have to do anything because we have already done it.”

Ms Rao said India today conveyed to Mr Powell as he met Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and PM’s Principal Secretary and National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra that Pakistan had failed to take any action in dismantling terrorist camps. “We have expressed the hope that Pakistan will take a step before India takes any consequential measures.”

Referring to the US demand of independent observers for the forthcoming Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections, the spokesperson said India had a policy of allowing any diplomat or individual who had a valid visa to visit anywhere in the country, including Jammu and Kashmir. But she made it clear that no non-governmental organisation would be given permission to visit J&K. “We don’t need prescriptions or certificates from observers or self-styled monitors.”

She maintained that India did not need suggestions on how to conduct elections in Jammu and Kashmir and added New Delhi was committed to holding free and peaceful elections in J&K.

Significantly, she remarked that “there is a clear message from India to Pakistan that it should not disrupt the coming Assembly poll through violence” and every dialogue with Pakistan would be dependent on the policy followed by Islamabad regarding ending cross-border terrorism.

She also clarified that Mr Powell did not ask for formal observers for the poll as he understood India’s view point.

The spokesperson clarified that the two sides also discussed various other issues of strategic importance and Mr Powell himself made it clear that that his visit to the sub-continent should not be seen only through the prism of Indo-Pak relations.

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