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Give self-governance to J&K: Musharraf

Diplomatic Correspondent

"In that case, we'll give up claim"



Gen. Pervez Musharraf

NEW DELHI: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said that he is prepared to give up Islamabad's claim on Kashmir if India and Pakistan are able to work out a solution based on self-governance for Jammu & Kashmir.

In an interview to NDTV, Gen. Musharraf said: "We are at the moment, both India and Pakistan, on the same position as we were since 1948. But we both, I am saying, we both ought to be prepared to give up all that we have been saying. And this includes all this [claim on Kashmir]. If we reach an agreement where we are giving self-governance, yes indeed, that is it."

Asked again if Pakistan was prepared to give up its claim on Kashmir, the General responded, linking a change in Islamabad's position to a solution based on self-governance, "We will have to, yes, if this solution comes up."

(For some time now, Gen. Musharraf has been speaking of ruling out solutions that are not acceptable to India and Pakistan — like a change in boundaries on the part of India and an acceptance of the status quo by Pakistan. He has called for creative, "out of the box" solutions to the Kashmir issue.)

On whether this "solution" meant that Pakistan was giving up on its plebiscite demand and the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir, the television channel's web site quoted Gen. Musharraf as saying, "again there is little bit of, one is giving up that clearly and I say, yes I am giving up. There is a provision in that, I am not giving up at all. But one is prepared to give up, in case India leaves its stated position also."

"What do you mean by compromise? Compromise can never take place if you don't step back. Compromise inherently means stepping back by both sides. So inherently, both sides have to give up their positions and step back. If one of us is not prepared to step back, we will not reach a solution," he said.

"Independence" option

The General also reiterated his country's rejection of the "independence" option for the Kashmiris — pointing out that India, too, held a similar position. Under the U.N. resolutions on Kashmir, the people of Kashmir may opt for India or Pakistan — there is no "independence" option here.

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