Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003
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India & World
By B. Muralidhar Reddy
Gen. Musharraf declined to react to what is called the "Chenab formula" to resolve the Kashmir issue. Maintaining that the formula that divided Kashmir on communal lines as interesting he said, "we should not discuss solutions at this stage. We should start the talks first".
To a question whether he had dropped the main demand at the Agra summit that Kashmir should be the "core" issue, Gen. Musharraf said Kashmir still remained a core issue but it would be discussed along with all other issues.
Gen. Musharraf parried questions on reports of ban or restrictions by Pakistan on the activities of the militant group, Hizb-ul Mujahideen. Asked about the contradictory statements made by his Interior Minister, Faisal Saleh Hayat, on this issue, Gen. Musharraf said that he was against terrorism.
Gen. Musharraf hinted that his government Gas considering the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel. With the possibility of peace prevailing between Israel and the Palestine state what with the West Asia road map being put in place, Pakistan would hold consultations with friendly Arab Governments and decide whether to have diplomatic relations with Israel.
"We should not overreact on this issue. We should give serious consideration. It is a very sensitive issue. We fought three wars with India but still had diplomatic relations'', he said adding that Pakistan never fought a war against Israel.
Gen. Musharraf threatened to take action against the Time magazine for reporting that Karachi had become a hub of Al-Qaeda activities. The report was not correct and his Government had "broken the back" of the Al-Qaeda in Karachi.
He would not comment on the performance of Jamali Government. Referring to the Opposition parties' agitation demanding his resignation as the Chief of the Army, Gen. Musharraf said he would not take out his uniform. "It is my prerogative."
He denied that he was the main hurdle to work out a rapprochement between the Jamali Government and the Opposition. "I am not the reason. The Opposition is responsible," he said adding that a majority of the Members of Parliament supported him. "The Opposition is in minority."
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