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Kashmir issue can stall peace process: Pervez
Muhammad Najeeb

Supporters of Pakistan's Opposition Islamic Alliance attend an anti-Musharraf rally in Lahore on Wednesday. Several thousand supporters of the alliance rallied from Rawalpindi to Lahore against the policies of President Pervez Musharraf.
Supporters of Pakistan's Opposition Islamic Alliance attend an anti-Musharraf rally in Lahore on Wednesday. Several thousand supporters of the alliance rallied from Rawalpindi to Lahore against the policies of President Pervez Musharraf. Reuters photo

Islamabad, March 23
The ongoing India-Pakistan dialogue cannot move ahead unless "real issues", including Kashmir, are discussed, President Pervez Musharraf said Wednesday.

"We need to address the real issues in the ongoing dialogue, otherwise the talks will serve no purpose," Musharraf said during his address at the Pakistan Day Parade here.

It was on March 23, 1940, that a section of Muslims in then undivided India demanded a separate homeland. Pakistan chose to celebrate that day as Pakistan Day.

The parade was held in front of the parliament complex. It included a march past and fly past, display of military hardware, and floats highlighting the country's culture, as also its scientific and industrial achievements.

The President said Pakistan wanted peaceful relations with all neighbours on the basis of "equality".

"Pressure from anywhere for dialogue or peace moves," was unacceptable, Musharraf asserted.

"We want to resolve all issues with India but let me make it clear that Kashmir is on top of all issues. We hope that India will continue working according to the September 2004 joint statement to find out ways for peaceful and long-lasting solution of the Kashmir problem," said the President.

Musharraf is to visit India April 17 to watch the India-Pakistan cricket match. He is also expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at that time.

According to him, the security Indian forces were "crushing" the "freedom movement" in Kashmir. "The poor civilians are being subjected to brutalities...we draw the world attention to the human rights issues in Kashmir," Musharraf said, adding his country will continue supporting the "freedom struggle" in Kashmir.

"Let me make it clear that we will continue our diplomatic, political and moral support to the people of Kashmir until they achieve their goal," Musharraf added.

He said the bus service between Muzzafarabad and Srinagar that is set to begin April 7 will ease the sufferings of the Kashmiri people on both sides of the Line of Control.

"They will have the opportunity to meet each other and many families will be seeing each other after long time.

"But everyone should be clear that this is not a substitute for the Kashmiri's struggle for liberation and neither is it a solution of the Kashmir dispute," the president maintained.

"I welcome this bus service as it will be an opportunity for Kashmiri's to meet each other and a confidence building measure between the two countries," he added. IANS
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