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Musharraf Rules Out LoC Re-adjustment, answers a broad array of questions in NY
New York, Sept. 22 (NNN): Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday ruled out any talks for re-adjustment of Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir and said Islamabad wants a purposeful and meaningful dialogue to address the lingering dispute.
Musharraf hoped that during his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, "there would be progress," on issues, including those on Kashmir.
The Pakistani president’s reaction followed following reports that the Indian Prime will offer to adjust the Line of Control (LoC) in troubled Kashmir during his talks with Musharraf on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week.
Time quoting a senior Indian official had reported from Hong Kong that Singh will make an offer to help defuse the situation in Kashmir. India will offer to "adjust" the LoC, "by a matter of miles" eastwards. The official further said its formal presentation in New York is a result of Singh’s instruction that his foreign affairs team think "out of the box" on Kashmir "to get a solution, and soon."
In the meantime, asserting that Pakistan was doing its best in the fight against terror, Musharraf while proceeding to United Nations General Assembly from the hotel where he is staying, tol newsmen: "Tell me, who else is doing more than Pakistan."
He said he feels very upset when questions as smack of doubt as to what Pakistan was doing were asked. Asked what was the main issue of Pakistan, he said it is the issue of terrorism, which is foremost important. "We are certainly winning battles but we must win war on terrorism," Musharraf said, in response to a question by a newsman in the informal talk. "It can be done," he stated on winning war on terror. It could be done "by pursuing core reasons behind terrorism".
The Pakistani leader said a vast majority of Pakistanis abhors extremism but it was acting silently over the years. He said Pakistan is trying to establish long-term and broad-based relations with the United States, especially in trade and commerce.
"The Muslim world feels as if it is being targeted, and this needs to be addressed," Musharraf told an audience at a Manhattan hotel. He said the first priority should be the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but attention should focus further on poverty and illiteracy, which, he said, were "at the core of terrorism."
Asked what subjects would discuss in his meeting with President Hamid Karzai, he said Afghan presidential elections and terrorism would be topics to come up under discussion. Besides, he said, return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan and matter of their registration would also be discussed.
Responding to another question, he said it was not correct to state that "there was any pressure to monitor the Pak-Afghan border, nor we accept it." In reply to another question, Musharraf said a trilateral meeting was taking place against the backdrop of forthcoming Afghan elections. "We agreed to it, since we are in the same region and it was better to work for the cause of Pak-Afghan coordination," he stated.
When asked to comment on President George Walker Bush’s speech in the UN General Assembly in which the US president mentioned democracy, Musharraf said parliament and democratic institutions in Pakistan are "fully working, and on track". "All is well," he said and added "we are very clear about it, and there is no confusion, whatsoever."
Meanwhile, speaking at a dinner hosted by the US Pakistan Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce, on Monday night President Musharraf promised to "end the presence of al-Qaeda" in his country but said the United States could gain the confidence of the Muslims only by working to resolve the many international disputes that affect Islamic world. Musharraf drew a rosy picture of Pakistan for foreign investment, saying the country of 150 million was undergoing an "economic renaissance" based on development of industries from energy to tele-communications.
Answering a question regarding uniform, he appeared to hint at keeping the uniform, saying that "continuity" was essential to maintain security and managing changes occurring in Pakistani society.
Musharraf said handling of matters domestically and internationally requires "continuity of policies, and continuity of action." "What worries me is the imperative need for continuity," he said and added "I have not as yet decided, and I will take a decision in a few months’ time." "There is much happening in Pakistan and the Muslim world today. The matters are important and there is need for continuity of policies," he added.
Besides domestic policies, he said, among others, the international policies need continuity. Musharraf urged the US businessmen and industrialists to invest in Pakistan for its rapid economic growth and poverty alleviation. The president said Pakistan has always been a safer place for foreign investors and no action has been taken against any foreign company out of 700 working in Pakistan, which reflects the best condition for investors in the country. "We have taken a number of steps to give more protection to the foreign investors," he added. Referring to Pakistan’s strategic position in the region, Musharraf said it occupies a key place in economic activities in the region of Central Asia, South Asia, China and Gulf. He said it is only Pakistan, which provides inter-connectivity to the whole world for this region. Meanwhile, a senior aide of Musharraf told Time that in his experience "there is more sound than substance" to India’s negotiations. But he confirmed that a "territorial adjustment... is one idea being broached" and that it was an idea in which "in the past, as in the present, we have shown interest."
According to Time a senior Pakistani foreign affairs official added a "more productive agenda" was on the table for the New York meeting. "We want to make things happen there," he said. "We want implement-able ideas. We have spoken to the Indian on this score and hopefully the meeting will break new ground in Kashmiri diplomacy," he added.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister has said his country was willing to discuss all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan, and find solutions 'rooted in ground realities.'
In an interview with Time magazine, Indian Premier was modest about his expectations of the meeting with Musharraf on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session in New York . 'Getting to know each other is important. But we are willing to discuss all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir and find solutions rooted in ground realities,' said Singh.
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