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Musharraf steps up Kashmir rhetoric

The Pakistan President says that if the Kashmir issue is not resolved now, it will never be sorted out.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2006 18:30 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has stepped up rhetoric on Kashmir after a long gap by telling India that he might revert to the demand of third party intervention if his proposals of demilitarisation and self-governance in the region were not considered "positively" to resolve the issue.

Musharraf also said that his tenure offered best available opportunity to resolve the Kashmir issue.

"If not now, then the Kashmir issue will never be settled. The international community also wants the issue to be sorted out," he told the concluding session of the four-day conference of the country's envoys abroad in Islamabad on Thursday.

The composite dialogue process with India which completed its third round failed to make any headway in resolving the Kashmir issue, Musharraf said and asked the Indian leadership to respond positively to options of demilitarisation, self governance and joint management floated by him.

The dialogue process and CBMs should move in tandem to resolve the contentious issue.

"If anyone of the two fails, the whole dialogue process will fall apart. If we cannot resolve this issue mutually, then Pakistan has some other options too," he was quoted as saying by 'Online' news agency.

While the news agency said Musharraf did not elaborate on "options" at his disposal, 'Observer' newspaper reported he would approach the international community to press for third party mediation.

"President urged Pakistan ambassadors to gear up their diplomatic skills so that a full fledged diplomatic offensive be launched in case composite dialogue process fails to address the core issue of Kashmir," it said.