Saturday, May 17, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Change views on terror, Advani asks Pak

On Board Special Aircraft, May 16
Expressing the hope that the third peace initiative of India has a “scope” in the present international climate, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today said India was not asking Pakistan to change its views on Kashmir but on terrorism.

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani  addresses BJP workers during his visit to Mangalore on Thursday. — PTI photo

Citing the Agra summit where India and Pakistan had decided to talk on every issue, including Kashmir, he said “today also I want to emphasise that we are not asking them to abandon their views on Kashmir but change their views on terrorism”.

Mr Advani was talking to reporters accompanying him on a day-long visit to Mumbai.

Asked whether the third peace attempt on India’s part would be yet another still-born child like the Lahore and Agra summits, he replied in the negative.

The latest initiative had a scope due to various reasons one of which was that those states which were sponsoring terrorism would find it difficult to continue on their path due to the international climate, the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Reacting to statements made by Pakistani leaders in the recent past that there was no change in their attitude to Kashmir, he said India had acknowledged there was a basic difference of views between the two countries on Kashmir.

India wanted to see a change in Pakistan’s views on terrorism, he said, adding that Islamabad had been emphasising that peace could not be established between the two countries due to only one reason — Kashmir.

During the Agra summit, Mr Advani said he had told Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf that dialogue was the only solution to resolve all the issues, including Kashmir, and not war — both direct and proxy.

“Today also I am emphasising the same”, Mr Advani said.

He maintained that the two countries could have serious differences on Kashmir but pledge that they would not hold peace to ransom. “We will hold talks and see where we can go,” he said, adding that this was what he had told General Musharraf during the Agra summit.

The Deputy Prime Minister said according to the Constitution of India, Jammu and Kashmir did not mean only the areas of Jammu, Kashmir and Leh. It also meant the area which was occupied by Pakistani armed forces in 1947.

Observing that Pakistan was created on those areas which were Muslim dominated, he said “maybe that feeling is still there among the people of Pakistan (regarding Kashmir) and they feel that what was happening (Kashmir being with India despite having Muslim majority) was not justified.”

Several important issues, including Pakistan and terrorism in India, are likely to be taken up by the Deputy Prime Minister during his visit to the USA beginning June 8.

“Last time when I was in the USA, it was in the backdrop of December 13 attack on Parliament. The forthcoming visit is going to be a follow-up visit during which I will take up incidents of terrorism which happened in the country in the past one year,” Mr Advani said.

“Last time I had gone there, then I was told that the Americans also feel equally angered about the December 13 attack on Indian Parliament and this time I am going to take up further incidents of terrorism that occurred in the country,” he said.

Asked if Pakistan was also one of the issues to be discussed, he said, “it will be part of the talks.”

Refusing to divulge further the issues which will be taken up during the visit, the Deputy Prime Minister said “the emphasis will also be on strengthening of Indo-US ties. The rest of the issues will definitely be chalked out before the visit.”

New Delhi: Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin on Friday ruled out cease-fire in Kashmir saying dialogue and militancy could go together.

Salahuddin, who is also the chairman of the United Jehad Council, said “....can’t the two — dialogue and armed struggle — go together? It has happened in the case of Vietnam and Algiers.”

In an indirect reference to the US role in resolving the Kashmir issue, he said “they could use their clout positively.”

To a question about suicide attacks, he said “the life of a mujahid is very precious. It should not be put to stake for a petty gain, but a colossal loss,” according to leading Pakistani newspaper Daily Times.

In a statement that could generate widespread anger among pro-independence leaders, the Hizb chief said, “Pakistan is not Pakistan without Kashmir.” PTI


Worldwide terror alert

Singapore, May 16
Terror alerts spread around the world today with Australia and New Zealand warning their nationals to be on their guard in Southeast Asia, a region still haunted by last year’s Bali bombings.

As FBI and CIA agents hunted for the masterminds of the suicide bomb attacks in Riyadh, the US State Department said yesterday that it feared an imminent attack by Islamic militants in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

Lebanon said it had smashed a plot to attack the US Embassy, while the UK banned flights to Kenya, where past terror attacks have killed hundreds.

The Australian Foreign Office said Australians should be extremely cautious in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor and Brunei. Reuter

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