'Resolve J&K through talks'
Musharraf appealed to India to take quake as the "opportunity of lifetime" to resolve 'Kashmir issue'.india Updated: Jan 10, 2006 20:34 IST
As India joined international donors in pledging $5.4 billion for relief and reconstruction efforts for earthquake victims, President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take the "opportunity of lifetime" offered by the temblor to resolve "together" the Kashmir issue "once for all", saying this could be New Delhi's "donation to Kashmir".
Facing cross-border terrorism and infiltration, India responded by stating that it was prepared to resolve Jammu and Kashmir and other issues through dialogue with Pakistan but made it clear that this can be done only in an "atmosphere free of terrorism and violence".
Unique feeling: Musharraf
Observing that the earthquake has created a unique feeling of togetherness on both sides of the Line of Control, Musharraf said while addressing the International Donors' meet here that the challenge "can be converted into an opportunity of lifetime which was never available to India and Pakistan to improve relations".
The conference, attended by over 60 countries and international financial organisations, pledged over 5.4 billion dollars for relief and reconstruction works, surpassing the amount of 5.2 billion dollars sought by the Government. India affirmed its pledge of 25 million dollars which was made at last month's donor's conference in Geneva.
"(I) take this opportunity and forum to appeal to the President and Prime Minister of India, to the Government of India, the entire opposition in India, to the people of India at large and business community of India and more than anybody else, I appeal to the media in India and also Pakistan, the government of Jammu and Kashmir, APHC (Hurriyat Conference) and other Kashmiri groups, let us together solve the Kashmir dispute once for all," Musharraf said.
'Delink relief' from issue
Ahamed, who represented India at the meet, sought to delink the relief efforts from resolution of outstanding issues.
He said the spontaneous outpouring of sympathy and goodwill for quake victims gave the motivation to work for greater people-to-people contacts.
But on Musharraf's remarks, the minister said "on J and K, our position is well known. India is prepared to resolve all issues, including J and K through dialogue between our two countries in an atmosphere free of terrorism and violence".