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Musharraf's proposals aim at making LoC 'irrelevant'

He says the Kashmir proposals are aimed at reconciling the Indian and Pakistan stands on the matter.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2006 15:42 IST

President Pervez Musharraf has said his proposals of self-governance and joint management to resolve the Kashmir issue were aimed at reconciling the Indian and Pakistan stands on the matter and make the Line of Control "irrelevant".

"He (Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) says borders should not be redrawn. We say that LoC can not be accepted as a permanent border. We need to work out a via media for the two positions," he told Geo TV.

"My proposals dealt with via media, which means giving them self governance with joint management system on the top so that both could be on both sides of the LoC to make LoC irrelevant.

This way neither the borders will be drawn nor the LoC will become permanent," he said.

Asked about the criticism of his initiatives by hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, he said "those are his views. This way we can keep fighting for another 100 years".

On the failed Agra summit in 2001, Musharraf said he continued to hold the view that "some one above" scuttled the draft joint statement agreed by him and Prime Minister AB Vajpayee, despite the denials by the Indian leader.

Vajpayee has rejected Musharraf's claim that some "power" was responsible for the collapse of the summit saying it failed because the general refused to describe the violence in Jammu and Kashmir as terrorism.

Asked whether the Indian establishment was so strong that it could prevent their Prime Minister from signing what has been agreed to he said, Musharraf stuck to his assertions in his book 'In the Line of Fire' that both he and Vajpayee have been "insulted" at Agra.

When pointed out that Vajpayee has denied his observations, the Pakistan President said the Indian leader could say what he likes but he held to his view.

On the Kargil issue, Musharraf rejected the demand for formation of an inquiry commission, saying "there are several sensitivities, sensitivities relating to Mujahideen".

Musharraf, who has questioned former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's assertion that he launched Kargil operations without informing the government and panicked and pleaded with Sharif when the army began suffering heavy casualties due to the offensive mounted by India, said there was no need to reopen the old issues with an inquiry commission.

He dismissed as "backwash" (rubbish) assertions by Sharif that he (Musharraf) approached the government pleading to save the army and him.

Musharraf also denied that he asked former US Central Command Chief Gen Tony Zinni to persuade Sharif to arrange ceasefire with the help of the United States.

Zinni in his book 'Battle Ready' published in 2004 wrote that he met the Pakistani leadership on June 24 and put forth a "simple rationale" for withdrawing.

"If you don't pull back you are going to bring war and nuclear annihilation down on your country. That it going to be bad news for everybody," he had said.

In the Geo TV interview, the interviewer read the excerpts of Zinni's account in his book stating that the problem faced by Pakistani leadership was the "apparent national loss of face".

"Backing down and the pulling back to the LoC looked like a political suicide. We need to come up with a face saving way out of the mess.

What we were able to offer was a meeting with President Bill Clinton, which would end the isolation that had long been the state of affairs between our two countries," Zinni wrote.

"That got Musharraf's attention and he encouraged Prime Minister Sharif to hear me out. Sharif was reluctant to withdraw before the meeting with Clinton was announced (again his problem was maintaining face), but I insisted, he finally came around and he ordered withdrawal. We set up a meeting with Clinton in July," Zinni wrote in his book.

After hearing Zinni's account, Musharraf said "this was not correct. He came here, he was a friend".

Musharraf stuck to his argument that he briefed Sharif at the Defence Coordination Committee meeting held on July 2, 1999 where he said militarily there was no cause to worry and all aspects of "conflict" with India were taken care off but he left the political decision to arrange a ceasefire to Sharif himself.

He said was not aware of Sharif's visit to US on the sameday until he was called to airport and told about it.

Sharif went to US to meet the then US President Clinton where he announced the ceasefire.

First Published: Oct 23, 2006 15:42 IST