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We will not allow terrorism in the name of Kashmir: Pak.

By B. Muralidhar Reddy

ISLAMABAD May 22. As the war clouds thickened over the sub-continent, Pakistan today sought to send out conciliatory signals to India by declaring that it favoured settlement of differences through negotiations and would never allow its soil to be used for terrorist activities. At the same time, Islamabad said that it was ready to fight ``if attacked''.

A statement issued by the Pakistan Government at the end of a joint meeting of the Federal Cabinet and the National Council presided over by the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, sought to re-assure New Delhi in the context of the present stand-off that it would never allow its soil to be used for acts of terrorism.

More specifically the statement maintained that ``no organisation in Pakistan will be allowed to indulge in terrorism in the name of Kashmir''. However, it reiterated that Pakistan would continue to extend ``moral, political and diplomatic support to the legitimate struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for the realisation of their right to self-determination''.

The statement can be characterised as reiteration of the January 12 address of Gen. Musharraf wherein he had promised to come down heavily on extremism in the Pakistani society and declared that no one would be allowed to indulge in acts of terrorism in the name of Kashmir cause.

There is little doubt that the statement is aimed at convincing the international community in general and India in particular that the military establishment has not gone back on its commitments made in the January 12 speech.

The sub-text of the statement is that Pakistan is in no way connected with the recent terrorist acts in India, including the May 14 massacre and the murder of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leader, Abdul Gani Lone. The statement came shortly after the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, told jawans in the Kupwara sector in Kashmir that it was time for a ``decisive fight''.

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