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Vajpayee reminds Kasuri of anti-terror pledge

He reminds Pak EAM about Musharraf's pledge to stop terrorist activities, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2007 16:49 IST

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee reminded visiting Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri about President Pervez Musharraf's pledge of January 2004 to stop terrorist activities from that country's soil.

Kasuri responded by saying that Pakistan too was suffering from terror but Vajpayee said the BJP did not think that it was so.

Vajpayee told Kasuri, who called on him at his residence on Thursday, that he and the BJP backed the peace process with Pakistan, but terrorism directed at India from "across the border should stop".

Vajpayee, like LK Advani who had a meeting with Kasuri on Wednesday, cautioned that issues between the two countries should not be resolved in haste.

Former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, who was present at the hour-long meeting along with former National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, told reporters that Vajpayee recalled that there was a condition in talks with Musharraf that Pakistan would dismantle terror camps there.

That condition was explicitly expressed in the joint statement issued by Vajpayee and Musharraf at the end of former's visit to Islamabad on January 6, 2004.

"He (Vajpayee) told him (Kasuri) that there should be peace and cross-border terror eliminated," Sinha said.

Kasuri, who praised Vajpayee for initiating the peace process with Pakistan, again made it clear that his country was not executing the South Asian Free Trade Agreement because it did not want to act "in haste". Sinha added that Kasuri invited Vajpayee to Pakistan.

Kasuri had told Advani at a breakfast meeting on Wednesday, that his country hoped that, even though the BJP is in the Opposition, its support for the peace process would continue. Kasuri recalled that it was the NDA government under Vajpayee that had taken the first initiative in this regard.

In response, Advani said the BJP is committed to the peace process with Pakistan "whether we are in the Opposition or in the government" and Indian politics revolves mainly around domestic matters and not on foreign policy matters.

"However," Advani said, "issues relating to Indo-Pakistan relations are different and even the common man in India is conscious of most of the problems between our two countries and has a definite view point on how to normalise bilateral relations.

Therefore, Advani told Kasuri, "whichever government is in office, it must take decisions keeping in mind how the people react."

Cautioning against any "quick-fix" solution to the Jammu and Kashmir issue, Advani said people of India would not accept any surrender on Kashmir. He also wanted that Islamabad should honour its 2004 commitment to dismantle terror camps there.

First Published: Feb 22, 2007 16:41 IST