Posted by: Administrator | 29 January, 2005

President address at SAFMA

20 November 2004

It’s indeed my pleasure and unique privilege to be addressing such a unique gathering of imminent media personalities from South Asia which is our common region.

 And I am especially glad to be welcoming the media personalities from the Indian held Kashmir as we call it. The theme given to me is Reconciliation in South Asia, I noticed that media and reconciliation in South Asia has been eliminated and I am sure that is for positive purpose that I should concentrate more on South Asia reconciliation and not with the negative purpose that I should not be commenting on media. But all that I would like to see on media irrespective is that I am a firm believer in liberation, in freedom of speech and freedom in writing, expression of views in media, freedom on access to information and access to places so therefore while I really welcome the first step of Pakistani media of giving access to the Indian parts of Kashmir.

We would certainly welcome any media person from South Asia and especially from India to go to any part of Pakistan including Kashmir. I totally support access and freedom to the media in the future. We are liberalized the print and electronic media if we want maturity from the media we need to give them the freedom and maturity will come gradually. Reconciliation of South Asia I am not going to concentrate on intra region or intra country of conflicts in various countries of South Asia .But I am going to talk on external reconciliation within South Asia.

Our region can not be diverse from the world therefore before region I would like to express my views on world. The world is in turmoil with disputes, extremism, terrorism, bomb blasts all over. Unfortunately the reality is all that conflicts involve Muslim countries and therefore while all conflicts are political in nature they had acquired a religious over tone. Therefore in all these conflicts and the region, Afghanistan on one side, Kashmir on the other and Pakistan happens to be at the centre of conflict whether directly or indirectly in everything that is happening in the region or in the world. Therefore our concern, involvement and attempts to find solutions all this what is happening in the world or region have direct fallout our domestic environment to the extent that the minority is trying to hold the nation to ranthorem.And that is what Pakistan needs to fight against and we are doing that.

This is happening in the world and in the region the political turmoil leading to militancy. If we see from central point of view this century is said to be of geo-economics. When we look at Asia of which are from a part there is economic co-operation going successfully. Between South East Asia, North East Asia, East Asia, China but South Asia remains to be out of loop that is note worthy.

Why, the cause is Indo-Pak conflict because of which there is no intra-regional co-operation. The stepping stone would be an intra regional co-operation within South Asia then only we could go to inter region co-operation. There has to be reconciliation of conflicts between India and Pakistan and then there will be intra regional co-operation between South Asia and then there will be inter region in South Asia .South Asia will form a part will come into the loop of economic commercial trade ties in Asia .When we talk of intra region within South Asia we talk of preferential trade agreements, free trade agreements and MFN.

These are good words but if you create barriers through tariff structures and MFNs,and MFN become meaningless. We need to be genuinely sincere in opening borders and not creating barriers through tariff.Becuse then we could not move forward and I would like to say in this context that SAARC has the key role to play. This is our organization and we have to make it potent and pro-active to the extent that in conflict resolution SAARC should play its role. Why should we deny this role so therefore Pakistan’s role in making it potent and pro-active within that all parts of SAARC whether it is SAPTMA or trade and commerce to include even political disputes. I would like to emphasize peace and harmony in the world for reconciliation.

For that I have given a strategy of enlighten moderation that is the way to move forward of the world and of the Muslim world. It is a two pronged strategy, one of the prongs to be delivered by Muslim world rejecting extremism and going on the path of economic development but the second part to be delivered by the West particularly the US to resolve political disputes and help us in our socio-economic development. This two pronged strategy could only be successful if we strike at the root of political disputes and resolve them .As also the Muslim world is going on the path of Socio-economic development. Pakistan is trying to play its role in this context by proposing the strategy of enlighten moderation and then taking a step further at the OIC Conference where it was accepted and we are going to restructure the OIC and move forward on socio-economic development to bring peace and harmony in the world and within the Muslim world.

In our region Pakistan is playing its role as in Afghanistan Pakistan supports the Bon process and actively supported the elections recently held in Afghanistan. We lent our total and complete support to the Afghan govt for the voting by the refugees in Pakistan and assisted them in fighting any threats to the election process from externally or internally in Afghanistan. On our East we are trying to harmonize our relations with India or domestically trying to fight the ill effect of the turbulence in the world and in the region on our domestic environment. We are moving on a dual track on a political and military track.

Military is used as a last resort but it has to be used for the protection of the country. We can not allow this country to be swayed by extremism and worst of all terrorists who have come from abroad. Therefore in this context we are using a political arm and a military arm. We are to particulate both of them very delicately but the end goal can not be compromised. The goal is to eliminate every foreigner carrying out terrorism from our country and there is a resolve and I know we will eliminate them from our cities and mountains.

Now Indo- Pakistan reconciliation path we are trying to move channels, CBMs and the dialogue process. The CBMs have a number of elements including the bus service as the Pakistan favors except with the provisa that it can not be on country passports of Pakistan and India as the Kashmir is the disputed territory. It can not be passports but with some other strategy. We are moving forward for opening the bus service not even one but two or three probably. However CBMs and dialogue process must move in tendom.One can not be galloping and other move on snail pace. We can not have confidence in ourselves until we resolve disputes. It is unnatural and not to do able. Therefore we have to move both in tendem.

When we talk of dialogues it includes all disputes between India and Pakistan must be resolved including the core issue of Kashmir. If anyone thinks it is not realistic, he or she is not realistic. Core dispute is Kashmir because we have fought three wars and have been killing each other on line of control every day. I have lived in all the borders and I know what is happening over there. I am not a unifocal man as Indian allegations are on me but I have to tell that I am not unifocal and we want to resolve each and every issue with India. We are talking on Baglihar issue and would like to talk on Sir Creek but Kashmir will remain the core issue. Leaving the past we had a very good joint resolution with Indian ex-PM Bajpai and myself then we have a joint statement between PM Manmohan Singh and between myself in New York.

I welcome that and say that I see light now at the end of the tunnel. We have to move this process forward but lately you may see that vibes since then coming across to us are not entulting.I don’t believe in mincing words then one reads Jammu and Kashmir being an integral part of India that the Kashmir has to be dealt as an integral part of India as the solution is within the Indian part and that there will be no redrawing of borders. And that if proposals are given formally we are prepared to listen. It is not one way traffic not a song that one has to listen. We have to discuss and expect bi-lateralm talking then we expect answers to move forward. There are a lot of comments on that statement I had given on that iftar party. I have given a frank rational, why I do it.

There are two reasons, I have been asking for the amicable solutions for the people of India, Pakistan and of course Kashmir that are directly involved. I have asked these questions from dozen of people I don’t want to name them.Kashmiris,Indians ,Pakistanis ,everyone of all walks of life I have not got any answer. Therefore I thought that I must lay a direction towards the discussion. So that the people start to know the newness of ground realities and they are able to discuss options. Some people say that they are no answer acceptable to India, Pakistan and Kashmir. I know there are options which ought to be accepted by all three this was the first reason. The other one is we have a joint statement that we need to discuss various options on Kashmir. We want to move forward next time when meet Manmohan Singh and we discuss options. Suppose we reach an option between the two of us and obviously we want to involve Kashmir is also what happens then. Are we going to throw it to the public or to our assemblies? And they shoot it down I think we the leadership cut a very sorry figure. Isn’t that putting a cart before the horse so shouldn’t the people, parties, assemblies and Kashmiris keep discussing the options. So that the leadership gets a feel that what people in India, Pakistan and Kashmir want and then we reach an option.

Every country has an environment so why not throw it for debate to everyone. How do I know to move forward that is why giving the options. I have not given any solution as there is a misperception that I gave a solution. I have only identified geographic, religious and ethnic realities on ground of Kashmir. And also I gave a key statement that will lead to discussion of options. I said we need to identify them into regions, I haven’t divided them these seven regions exist but I have invented these. These are geographic boundaries that I identify which is in between them who lives there, their ethnic affinity then I made a statement we need to identify the regions, demilitarize that identified region or regions and change their status. I set a direction to discuss options.

It is important for the media which is here that they will discuss all possible options. We will read and hear and that is the pulse of India, Pakistan, of people of Kashmir and of South Asia. Another misperception that Pakistan has given up its stand, stated position.No, we are not there is fine difference we must show flexibility but this is not unilateral. Pakistan has not left its position; our position is UN resolution of plebiscite but if bi-laterally both India and Pakistan wants to move off will show flexibility. If we want to resolve disputes both should be on maximist position, both have to step back. If we are not prepared to step back it will not done unilaterally.

Pakistan will not do a unilateral stepping back let that be very clear. We stand on the position stance; will wait for bi-lateral shifting from positions. But the vibes I have talken of is of rigidity therefore it is a maximist position, we remain at maximist position. If that be the case I will leave it to you of how we will go forward .The last issue since the Kashmiris are sitting here sooner or later, earlier the Kashmir issue has to be resolved. We can not take any solution over your heads .I want to know the pulse that’s why held discussions for them.

I would like to conclude we all must play our respective roles to bring peace in the region. It is do able when India and Pakistan resolve their disputes.Wewill go half way and leave our positions when India will move not unilaterally. We have the courage to go for a solution and I am believer that courage to conflict and confrontation is far easier than courage to reconcile. Let’s show that real courage.


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