Wednesday, August 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Gen Musharraf proposes ceasefire along LoC
Asks India to stop ‘atrocities’ in Kashmir

Islamabad, August 12
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today proposed a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and offered to facilitate a truce in Jammu and Kashmir if India stopped “atrocities” in the state.

In characteristic blow-hot-blow-cold pronouncements, the Pakistani ruler said a ceasefire could be achieved along the LoC by tomorrow morning by giving orders today to the two armies.

At the same time, he accused India of human rights violations and atrocities in Kashmir before going on to say, “if India stops atrocities, human rights violations, releases political prisoners and creates an atmosphere, then maybe we can facilitate a ceasefire in Kashmir”.

General Musharraf made the remarks during a 90-minute interaction with the visiting delegation of Indian parliamentarians and journalists and later while talking to reporters.

Maintaining that what was happening in Kashmir was a “freedom struggle” which was not under Islamabad’s control, he said, “It is not possible to be done from here because we don’t have a whistle which we blow from here and things start happening in Kashmir”.

On the ceasefire, the Pakistani President said it could be achieved even today if both sides agreed.

He told the delegates that India should forget Kargil, maintaining that both countries had hurt each other. “There should not be a repeat of this. We should work for future peace,” he said.

The “author of Kargil” suggested that another such operation in future was unthinkable because “he was talking of ceasefire.”

Replying to a query, he said there was no question of his government sponsoring cross-border terrorism across the LoC. “Now what is happening in Kashmir is that a freedom struggle is going on. One can attempt to facilitate and encourage ceasefire inside Kashmir but for this there is reciprocity involved. If it has to be a unilateral issue, then it may not be feasible or practical,” he said.

General Musharraf said a unilateral ceasefire had two connotations: “One is ceasefire along the LoC where we are firing at each other daily. Daily, there are casualties on both sides. There ought to be a ceasefire along the LoC.”

He said it was an immediate possibility because the two armies were firing. “We stop from this side and they can stop from their side. This can take place tomorrow morning by giving orders today,” he stated.

“The other ceasefire is the ceasefire in what we call ‘held Kashmir’ and what you (India) call differently..... The totality is there only if there is a bilateral reciprocal formula. It has to be worked out and then it becomes a possibility,” he said.

Claiming that there were six lakh Indian troops in Kashmir, where “atrocities” were being committed, General Musharraf sought reduction of forces in the state following which “one could attempt to facilitate and encourage ceasefire inside Kashmir”.

He said reciprocity should be in the form of stopping of atrocities, reduction of forces, allowing political activities and travel freely. “These are elements of reciprocity and confidence building,” he said.

On the possibility of his talking to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he said, “I have no ego problem. I can pick up the telephone to call him. Prime Minister Jamali did ring up Mr Vajpayee. Yes, if it serves the purpose, I can think of it”.

He, however, said there should be no humiliation if he called up and there was no response from the Indian leader. — PTI


Delhi rejects proposal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 12
India today rejected Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s proposal for a ceasefire along the Line of Control, saying that it was “propagandist”.

“There is nothing new in these suggestions,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told mediapersons in reply to a question about remarks made by General Musharraf to visiting Indian parliamentarians, journalists and others.

“Instead of propagandist statements, Pakistan should take effective and long-term measures to dismantle the infrastructure of support to terrorism,” the spokesman said.

Mr Sarna said these suggestions had not been found effective in the past because Pakistan had continued to sponsor terrorism directed against India and provided support to cross-border infiltration.

“Once this is stopped and Pakistani-aided terrorists stop crossing the LoC, the level of firing would naturally go down,” he said.

He reminded Islamabad that there was nothing to prevent Pakistan-aided terrorists from stopping their activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Once these activities stop, there would inevitably be a change in the necessary measures required to be taken by the security forces,” he said.

New Delhi also voiced its disappointment over suggestions by the Pakistani leadership that they had done all that they could to stop cross-border infiltration and terrorism.

“The facts point to continuing Pakistani support through funding, training, indoctrination, launch and guidance,” the spokesman pointed out.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri had yesterday told an Indian television channel that Islamabad had done all that it could to stop cross-border terrorism.



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