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Musharraf satisfied with Kashmir talks

The Pakistan president adds that New Delhi should accept Islamabad as an equal for the sake of South Asia peace.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2006 16:22 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved by the Indo-Pak dialogue process to resolve the Kashmir issue but said Islamabad will not accept New Delhi's "domination" in the region.

"The talks between India and Pakistan on Kashmir issue are underway, which is a welcoming development.

The two countries exhibited in this regard a positive attitude in the Havana Declaration. Now the process should move forward," he said in an interview with a private TV channel.

"I respect Indian Prime Minister but it is regrettable that India wants to keep its domination in the region and wants Pakistan to be weaker force.

Indian should come out of its phobia of being a greater nation and should talk to us at an equal level", Musharraf claimed.

"We would not allow anyone's interference in our internal matters and neither would be tolerate such things", he said.

Musharraf also urged the two countries to refrain from interfering into each other's internal affairs and said India should correct its own matters before pointing finger at Pakistan regarding terrorism at its own soil.

Apparently referring to Indian allegations of Pakistan fomenting terrorism in the country, he said India should first set its own house in order before telling others what to do.

"There are 21 such places in India where violence continues. The situation in Assam is also visible. So, New Delhi should first correct its own matters and then talk to Pakistan", he said.

On the recognition of Israel by Pakistan, he said "we regret what happened in Lebanon and we need to review our policies especially with respect to Israel."

"There was a time when we did not accept Israel at all and now we believe in two states Israel and Palestine".

However, it is clear that that the Palestinian issue needs to be settled first for achieving peace in the Middle East, he added.

To a question on the political scenario in the country, Musharraf said real democracy should first be introduced in political parties then in the country.

He said in light of the current political situation in the country, parties can take part in the next general elections and there is no bar on them.

He said democracy lies within the party and not with individuals but "unfortunately our political parties have no democracy."

Ruling out the participation of former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif in next year's polls, he said there is no need to change parties inside Pakistan but there is a need to change their leadership.

Dismissing the impression that there was some pressure on Pakistan to crackdown on disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadir Khan, Musharraf said "our point of view on the issue has been clear and consistent.

Pressure can be on someone who is suspected of hiding something but we have kept everything open in this case."

He said when he assumed power as a military ruler he did not become a Martial law administrator but worked for making the civil administration better and introduced the monitoring system for which the army was used.

On the Women's Rights Protection Bill, he said consultations are underway on the matter, adding it was essential to resolve issues of adultery and rape in Hudood Ordinance so that no injustice takes place against women.

First Published: Oct 24, 2006 16:22 IST