June 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India
Advani debunks Pak claim on terrorism
London, June 17
This contradiction came from Mr Advani at a press conference he addressed at the conclusion of his 12-day two-nation tour of the USA and the UK here today. He reiterated that neither cross-border infiltration nor terrorist violence in Kashmir had abated. This was happening despite the ‘hand of friendship’ offered by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, two months ago to end killing of innocent persons and restore peace.
General Musharraf had made the claim after a meeting with the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, at 10 Downing Street earlier this morning. The Deputy Prime Minister questioned if the General had given facts and figures to substantiate what he had said. He went on to say that what he was saying was based on facts that were being continuously fed to him during his stay away from India since June 7.
“There were at least three incidents on the Line of Control where infiltrators were shot by the security forces and people of the minority community, killed in Kathua area of |Jammu”.
Mr Advani said there were wide differences over several contentious issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, between India and Pakistan. These could be resolved only through dialogue. And dialogue would become meaningful only if Pakistan stopped giving sanctuary to terrorist outfits, dismantled its infrastructure support and effectively controlled cross-border infiltration. The roadmap shown by Mr Vajpayee alone would lead to peace as it involved a composite agenda.
Mr Advani referred to the Parliament mandate that India had the rightful, constitutional and legal claim over the territory known as ‘Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’ or ‘Azad Kashmir’ and also parts that Pakistan had handed over to China. These issues, Mr Advani said, had figured in his talks with the British Prime Minister, Mr Blair and also with the Secretary of State for Home, Mr David Blunkett.
In response to questions by the foreign media, he said what had prompted Mr Vajpayee to make yet another peace offer to Pakistan was the transformation in the situation in Kashmir after the Assembly elections held there in a fair and transparent manner. More than 45 per cent people had voted despite threats. India was also dealing with the problem of Kashmiri Pandits, 300,000 of whom had become refugees in their own country. “Time and ingenuity will solve the problems in Kashmir and its people”.
On General Musharraf’s statement on Kargil and his subsequent denial, Mr Advani said it was astounding that such statements were being made. “This issue must end here”.
Iraq was yet another important issue discussed by the visiting Deputy Prime Minister in Washington and London. He repeated that as per the UN resolution on stabilisation and reconstruction of Iraq, member-countries of the UN could play a role.
London, June 17
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