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India was never serious about dialogue: Lashkar chief

By B. Muralidhar Reddy

ISLAMABAD, JULY 25 The Lashkar-e-Taiba chief, Prof. Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, has said that it was through `jehad' (holy war) alone that India could be forced to withdraw from Kashmir.

In a statement issued here, Prof. Saeed has claimed that Indian troops had now been rendered `totally helpless' in the face of actions by the militants and time was not far off when India would have to `vacate' Kashmir.

He said that he had predicted that the Agra summit would not yield any result as India has ``never been serious about dialogue on Kashmir. Instead it always tried to sabotage the talks''. Prof. Saeed, who had opposed the visit of the Pakistan President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to India has paid rich compliments to Gen. Musharraf for ``adopting a firm stand during the summit and truly representing the aspirations of Kashmiris''.

In a related development, the chief of the Jamaat-e- Islami, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, has said that giving importance to other bilateral issues, without finding a solution to Kashmir problem would be a futile exercise.

Commenting on the decision of the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, to accept the invitation of Gen. Musharraf to visit Islamabad, he told Radio Teheran, that he had no objection to the invitation if the two leaders discussed Kashmir problem during their talks.

``I want that the two leaders concentrate on the main problem and there is no need for any celebrations or reception with pomp and show. Earlier I had raised objection not to Gen. Musharraf's talks with Mr. Vajpayee when it appeared as if they were going to ignore the Kashmir problem. We saw that the two sides were highlighting other matters instead of Kashmir. We want that the two sides focus on Kashmir as it has disturbed the security situation in the entire region,'' he told the radio.

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