Posted by: Administrator | 29 July, 2006

President to India Today Conclave, via Satellite

Interview of President General Pervez Musharraf to The India Today Conclave

13th March 2004 

ARUN:- Ladies and gentlemen I have immense pleasure in welcoming His Excellency the President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf to the 3rd India Today conclave. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome the President of Pakistan “Good evening sir,” an audience says, which is in very good mood after a cricket match. 

PRESIDENT:- We are also in a good mood,  

ARUN :- Excellent, it is the spirit of the game 

PRESIDENT:- Thank you 

COMPERE:- Ladies and gentlemen, we are indeed privileged to have with us as a key note speaker for the evening, President Musharraf, live via satellite from Islamabad.

As we sit here tonight, we are also privileged to have ringside seats to history in the making today. We witnessed the first cricket match between India and Pakistan on Pakistani soil in 15 years. Our Cricketers are there. The Prime Minister Vajpayee told the team before it left not only to win matches but also to win hearts. Nothing to be more symbolic of the new relationship between our two countries and the fact that very two years ago we almost went to war. If cricket matches were the only point of conflict between the two countries, it will be a change that all of us would welcome, even if we were to lose. Tonight’s speaker President Musharraf shares the credit along with Prime Minister Vajpayee for taking the two neighbours to the brink of peace rather than war .Here the chief guest against overwhelming odds. I am not guilty of exaggeration when I say that he has possibly the world’s toughest job. At a time when terror is no longer local, as a President of a frontline state in the war against terror, history. has given him a central role in the post 9-11 world. He has faced two assassination attempts in recent months and is the prime target of religious extremism, terrorist groups, the Taliban and political parties opposed to Pakistan’s close relationship with the US. He has displayed rare courage in taking on his opponents while mending fences with India. It is based on an unshaken belief that Pakistan’s future can only be ensured by economic development and peace in the subcontinent. It is perhaps his commando background that helped him in taking such good steps that helped him negotiate to the~ minefield of politics and international affairs with amazing fearlessness. While we have a gift of communication without a dispute, and I am sure you will witness to that this evening. At the World Economic Forum in Davos recently, I personally saw how he handled with great candour and plump some of the most difficult questions including the one relating to selling of nuclear secrets by Pakistani scientists. He was widely acknowledged as a star of this year’s meet. He never shied away from tricky issues like a true army general who is willing to give as good as he gets. In recent times, General Musharraf has been blamed for plunging relations with India to an all time low. Memories of Kargil and the continuing terrorist strikes in India are not easily forgotten. But in recent months, there is suddenly a hope of a new dawn. President Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpayee have embarked on a difficult process of wiping out more than half a century of hatred and hostility .They can not afford to be trapped in history .Here they have a chance to make history .That is why in India Today cover story after the SAARC summit, we described the two leaders on our cover simply as brave hearts. And I believe this is most apt as what they are doing, which requires enormous courage. And as we all know the world belongs to the brave.  question and answer session. Ladies and gentlemen the President of Pakistan. 

PRESIDENT PERVEZ MUSHARRAF:- Thank you again everyone. Thank you very much Mr. Arun Puri the Editor-in Chief of India Today. All the ladies and gentlemen, good evening and Aslamo Alaikum. It is indeed my very special privilege to be addressing India Today Conclave via satellite. I only wish I was sitting in front of you and seeing you in person. I thank all the organizers and the management of India Today for this invitation and for affording me to this very unique opportunity of speaking to all of you. First of all let me congratulate all of you, let me congratulate India for the first victory after fifteen years in the first one day international at Karachi. I am very glad indeed that the match was most interesting, most well contested and extremely exciting. I am also glad that the people of Pakistan in general and the people of Karachi in particular welcomed the Indian team with a very open and a warm heart. I only hope that series in the future, the other one day internationals and the test matches are played in the same good welcoming spirit that we saw today. So I again congratulate all of you for winning today a very exciting and thrilling match. Coming to the subject, ladies and gentlemen, the theme of this year’s Conclave is “India: Tomorrow, building a South Asia Century.” I have been tasked to speak on the Future of Pakistan-India relations, the opportunities, risks, benefits, my expectations from the Indian leadership, possible United States role and my own world vision. I commend the organizers first of all for selecting such an apt subject bearing immense relevance to the region, particularly at this time. I wish this conclave success in the deliberation and pray for a prosperous South Asia through bridging mutual differences. Ladies and Gentlemen, quite clearly as the theme and its elaboration imply, realization of a South Asia Century requires collective will and application. India cannot go it alone. The hurdle in the application of this collective will indeed comes from continued Indo-Pakistan confrontation. Before getting involved in regional emancipation and bilateral conflict identification and resolution, I would like to share my overall global vision as I am required to do. Ladies and gentlemen, the 21st century is a century of globalization. The outlines of a global village are visible in all fields. It is a century of geo- economics and of inter-dependence. While on one hand we witness the start of integration of the world for the sake of human uplift on the other hand there is manifestation of enhanced destructive power of implements of confrontation. I am referring to weapons of mass destruction, or even the increased lethality of conventional weapons, rendering war and extremely dangerous and a very costly undertaking. Within these opposing realities, we also see the world fragmented, torn in conflict. Short of war low intensity conflict has seen the introduction of suicide bombing phenomenon, which provides a new and a very lethal weapon in the hands of a terrorist or a freedom fighter, which ever side of the divide you look for compensating for military and political weakness. Looking at each conflict in the last two decades unfortunately, they all involved Muslim countries. All of whom happen to be at the receiving end. Muslims today suffer from a sense of deprivation, a sense of hopelessness and a sense of powerlessness. Combined with poverty and illiteracy, this becomes an explosive mix vulnerable to adoption of an extremist or a militant path. Thus the world as a whole has become a dangerous place to live in. Improvement can only come through addressing Muslim concerns with justice. Within these outlined parameters we need to look at the power equation in our region. War or military confrontation does not constitute a viable solution any more. We must understand that the issue is not a game of numbers’ alone. The strategy of military coercion with numbers is inapplicable when an adversary, albeit weaker, is prepared to accept losses and inflict maximum retaliatory damage, which may be untenable to the other side. The question that arises is, how to deal with this conflict torn hatred infested world and meet our collective duty to bring peace to this world, our common heritage. I have proposed a strategy of enlightened moderation. This is a two-pronged strategy. One prong is to be exercised by the Muslims through rejection of extremism and militancy and opting for socio-economic development using a restructured OIC as the driving force. The other prong of this strategy of enlightened moderation is to be implemented by the West; resolve all political disputes involving Muslims with justice. Success of this strategy, the overall strategy, indeed lies in the simultaneous success of both the prongs. After this brief look at the world let us come closer home, to our region, South Asia. We see an upheaval, turmoil in Afghanistan and Kashmir. If we can resolve these two issues, we will strike at the root of extremism and militancy, I am very sure. Pakistan is actively fighting against Al- Qaida along our western borders in the tribal areas. We had the will and the capability to eradicate all foreigners from our country. We will not allow Al-Qaida to maintain sanctuaries in Pakistan and operate outside Pakistan. Ladies and gentlemen, the Kashmir issue lies at the heart of Indo-Pakistan confrontation and hence is also the source of disunity of South Asia as a whole. As a result SAARC has merely existed on the periphery of impotence. We saw a visible and a very pleasant change in the last SAARC summit held at Islamabad. This was momentous not only for the thaw in Indo-Pakistan relations but also for signing of SAPT A, which is a big leap towards free trade within our region. It is said the past belonged to Europe, the present to America and the future to Asia. Within Asia, we see North East Asia, East Asia, China and South East Asia cooperating fully for mutual economic progress. South Asia and Central Asia sadly remain out of this prosperity loop, may I say. Quite clearly, common wisdom dictates intra-regional cooperation within SAARC and also ECO, the Economic Cooperation Organization, first, followed by inter-regional integration with the rest of Asia for joint benefits to our region. Pakistan’s geography provides a critical linkage between the three regions of South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia. Indo-Pakistan rapprochement unleashes the entire economic, commercial, trade potential of this whole region. Undoubtedly the whole scenario provides a strong case for resolving disputes, ushering an era of peace by joining hands for socio-economic development of our people and of our region.  India and Pakistan must bury the past and chart a new roadmap for peace. I believe people of both our countries desire peace and may I also add are fed up of confrontation. This is evident from the welcoming response to the CBMs of the past one or two months. Revival of sports ties with a tour of Indian cricket team, finally we say, it is better late than never and the forthcoming SAF games, indeed auger well for the promotion of people to people contacts and we are witnessing this good contact during the one day international today at Karachi. I Ladies and gentlemen, Pakistan and India have lost half a century in mutual squabbles. Let us face it. We have fought wars, tested nuclear weapons and have remained engaged in very hot confrontation throughout. Today South Asia is nuclearized. It is brimming with lethal weaponry, huge accusations of arsenal and sophisticated weapon technology make our region one of the most dangerous flashpoints in the world and it is of greatest concern to the world. South Asia also constitutes one of the most impoverished regions of the world. Social indices are appalling, millions live in dire poverty, misery and disease. At the centre of this dismal scenario is the spiraling vortex of Pakistan-India animosity .Kashmir, we say a paradise on earth, is the core issue that has bedeviled our relations throughout this half a century. Kashmir is the central issue that awaits a just and durable settlement. If Pakistan and India could settle Kashmir in accordance with aspirations of the Kashmiris, a new chapter in our troubled history will begin. This is very much possible if all parties are sincere in their quest for a just and durable peace through a solution acceptable to all of us not to one single country. I have proposed a four-point process whereby talks commence, centrality of Kashmir dispute is accepted, all solutions not acceptable to either of the three parties are taken off the table and the remaining options the one deem most feasible and acceptable is chosen. I believe nothing could be fairer than this. A solution will emerge if all sides are mindful of the problem, if all parties, especially Kashmiris are given the opportunity to have their due say and are associated with a credible, sincere and serious quest for a final settlement between Pakistan and India. I do not want to speak about history .The political and legal history of Kashmir is well recorded and well documented in the archives and resolutions of the United Nations. All that I urge is let us be pragmatic. Let us learn to accept hard facts. The issue of Kashmir is at the centre stage, we cannot deny it. It must be resolved in an equitable and honourable manner acceptable to India, Pakistan and Kashmiris, and I repeat, to India, acceptable to India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris. We are not talking of a solution acceptable to Pakistan alone. I wish to assure you that we are determined to take two steps forward if India takes one step and chooses to embark on a realistic quest for a just and durable peace with Pakistan on the basis of sovereign equality .India will find Pakistan sincere and responsive if it desires genuine improvement in relations. We are mindful of the difficulties posed by very rigid mindsets in the past. We must know if there is no movement towards a solution, I am afraid, everything will slide back to square one. Let us look at the very broad benefits from peace accruing to both our countries. May be this serves as a motivation towards normalisation. On trade, our market size will expand to 1.2 billion, equal to China. Opening vistas of trading opportunities within the region, the foreign direct investment which presently stagnates at three billion dollars could increase manifold. China attracts forty billion dollars. Access to alternate energy, natural gas from Iran and Central Asia can become available to the region, bringing down energy cost by at least fifty per cent and may I say India may be the maximum beneficiary .Tourism can flourish. The region has vast treasures of tourist attractions, not only for the domestic but also for the international tourists. Combined regional tours could benefit us all. Reduction in defense expenditure could take place. This will lead to availability of funds for social sectors and poverty reduction and lastly sports activities could be enhanced. Through mutual sports India and Pakistan could regain their lost glory at least in cricket and hockey. We must be aware, however, ladies and gentlemen, there are extremists on both sides who try to derail the peace process. We must not be deterred from our path and be prepared to deal with them with an iron hand. In fact in our own supreme interest, we must negotiate peace boldly as if there are no detracting extremists. And we must also deal with all extremists boldly and firmly as if there is no peace initiative going on. The joint statement, ladies and gentlemen, reached at Islamabad between me and Prime Minister Vajpayee provides a good framework for relationship of harmony and mutual respect. The CBMs already been initiated have generated tremendous goodwill. The Foreign Secretary level talks have furthered this dialogue process forward. The composite dialogue scheduled for May and June this year should augur well for our future relationship. In this garden path that is very visible, I would be blemished if I did not strike some words of caution. Firstly, there is simultaneity, a linkage between CBMs, the confidence building measures, and the composite dialogue. CBMs cannot outstrip dialogue process on all substantive issues including Kashmir. Secondly, Kashmir dispute can never be sidelined or ignored. No leader in Pakistan can do that. We must move forward towards its resolution in tandem with the CBMs. And lastly while talking of Kashmir, sooner or later Kashmiris must join the peace process to make the solution practicable. Ladies and gentlemen, progress on dialogue towards serious resolution of disputes should set us thinking on other more substantive confidence building measures. Why can’t our defense expenditure be cut down? It certainly can. Pakistan is not in an arms race. We maintain a quantified force level based on a perceived threat and a strategy of minimum deterrence. With the enhancement of firepower of weapons, which I spoke of earlier India, firepower of conventional weapons. We are already reducing our strength, the strength of our army by fifty thousand, may I tell you, may I inform you today. We have kept our defense budget frozen for the last four years knowing fully well that our deterrent strategy is in place. India has to review its own strategy because your defense force levels, may I say, are not based on threat, but on your own power projection. The latest multi-billion dollar acquisitions and your vastly enhanced budgetary allocations to defense take you in that direction of power projection. In any case Pakistan will remain amiable for mutual, proportional reduction of forces. Ladies and gentlemen, I honestly feel that the present time is ideal for resolution of all disputes and ushering in an era of peace, harmony and prosperity. The people of our country want it. The influential business community is eagerly looking’ forward to it in both the countries. I have interacted with many business leaders of your country .Media also seems to favour it. Where lies the stumbling block then. I am afraid it lies in the leadership alone. Leaders on both sides have to be sincere, to develop confidence and trust in each other. They are to be flexible enough to reach mutually acceptable solutions to previously intractable disputes and bold enough, they are to be bold enough to bulldoze all opposition and risks en route to peace, we have to show enough maturity to be able to resolve disputes bilaterally, within reasonable time line. It is only our failure, which then invites third party mediation or facilitation, or involvement or encouragement. You can choose the word yourself because I know there is some kind of an allergy to the words to the terms’ mediation probably in your country .The US being the sole super power in a unipolar world has a responsibility of bringing a just peace in the world oh all disputes for our future generation. Their involvement to a resolution of thornic Kashmir dispute will be a value only if we get stuck our selves. If we make bilateral progress there is no need of outside interference or involvement. As Responsible nuclear weapon state we must demonstrate to the world that we have the courage and conviction to settle our problems in a civilized manner. We must demonstrate the courage and wisdom to write a new chapter of peaceful co-existence and mutually beneficial co- operation. I find distinct warm sentiments in Pakistan and India to engage constructively with each other. May I add that the people of both countries and the media certainly playa very important role in improving the environment, paving the way for a settlement of all disputes including the Kashmir dispute. Respect for basic principles of inter state conduct develop relations of sovereign equality and provide safe and sound foundations within which Pakistan India relations can thrive and prosper . Ladies and Gentlemen we in Pakistan look forward to sustaining the present positive momentum in our relations with India. This is a moment of hope and movement of optimism, let us nurture it carefully and make the process of engagement irreversible. Let us draw balance between the vast opportunities that exist for mutual gain and the hazards of falling back to self generated hatred, despair and confrontation. Pakistan and India must lead South Asia to new horizons of economic development and the other South Asian countries .certainly look forward to that. The roadmap delineated for the composite talks must be filled with other pointers and timelines for joint endeavours to resolve differences and disputes. It should not take long to fashion together a roadmap to progress and prosperity, reinforcing and utilizing the talent and the genius of our peoples using our resources optimally. I wish the India Today Conclave every success. I would indeed be very happy to answer or to take any questions from your side. I thank you all, ladies and gentlemen. 

ARUN PURI:- Thank you President Musharraf for a very incisive and, as you would expect from a General, down to the brass tacks speech. He dealt with every issue, but I am very happy to note you have talked about it is a time for hope and optimism. So as the moderator, I will take the prerogative by asking the first question. You have mentioned in your speech several times sir, quite repeatedly the fact that Kashmir was a central issue that it is an issue which had to be resolved with justice. My understanding was that one of the reasons why Agra summit failed was because India refused to recognise Kashmir as a core issue. Yet at the SAARC statement in January Kashmir was placed among a list of eight issues to be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan. So is there a difference now in terms of what was there in Agra and what is there now, that I would like to elaborate on that? 

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- I would like to answer this question. There is not much difference between what happened at Agra and what happened now in the joint statement. At Agra we exactly accepted the centrality of Kashmir and the requirement of the resolution of the Kashmir dispute if we were to improve relations between India and Pakistan. Let me say that the joint declaration, the Agra declaration was prepared in draft. It was prepared by me, myself, Prime Minister Vajpayee, Foreign Minister Jashwant Singh and my Foreign Minister. We drafted each and every word of it and I have a copy of the draft here with me, at the Foreign Office not with me now at the moment. It was only after when I went back and I was to come back to a signing ceremony, the hall was ready and ready for the signing ceremony that after an hour or two I was told by Foreign Minister, no, we are not going to have the signing ceremony because they have rejected this declaration. And then we even went forward and drafted another, redid the draft resolution. It took us some hours doing that and it took a change in my schedule. And we again accepted a fresh declaration. And unfortunately an hour pr two later that declaration was also rejected. And the reason given to me at that time was that the cabinet of India has rejected this. So that declaration, the draft of which is available in Pakistan, accepted the centrality of Kashmir. Now let us come to this new joint statement. There are three areas here which were almost similar to the Agra declaration that the centrality of Kashmir is accepted, that dialogue process oil all issues including Kashmir has to be undertaken. But one very important element is also there. -And that is that Pakistan has been accepted now as a party concerned with the dispute, as one of the parties in the dispute. This was never done before. So therefore, I see that there is certain progress on the resolution of all disputes.  

ARUN:- So what you have said that you have kept the same position but India has changed its position. Is that which happened?  

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Absolutely Agra was …which I have otherwise said. The draft declaration which never came to be faired and if you want I can get this published any time. I can give the draft to you also. It is similar to what we did now in the joint statement. The very, fact that Kashmir has been accepted as a dispute which needs to be resolved and that Pakistan is a party to this dispute as was never accepted in the past. 

ARUN:-  I would like to now call on General Malik, former Chief of Staff, to ask a question.  

GENERAL MALIK:- Thank you. Good evening General Musharraf. Firstly I must say I am delighted to speak to you over this satellite conference. I would like to extend my warm greetings to you and good wishes to you. I must also compliment you for the speech that you made. I think it was both soldierly as well as statesmanlike. I recall that some years ago when you took over as Army Chief in Pakistan I had sent a letter to you congratulating you and wishing you goodwill, wishing you well and you very kindly replied that some months later. Unfortunately we had Kargil war soon after that. I am not going into that part of history .And in fact I would like to once again compliment you for the agreement that you have signed with Prime Minister Vajpayee in Islamabad. And you both have raised the hopes of people on both sides. I do not know General, when Kashmir problem is going to be resolved, but I am very keen to find out your commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in Lahore on Strategic Weapons CBMs. I was involved in that, so I know what agreement was signed. I would like to know how committed do you feel to that agreement which was signed in Lahore. If you, I am sure you would know that was substantive in nature and if we want to go ahead with that it will require working out more details between India and Pakistan. And if you remain committed to that obviously that part can only take place if you give your assent. May I request your response to that? Thank you General.  

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Thank you very much indeed. You have spoken about this Strategic Weapons CBMs. The only thing that I would like to answer is that first of all I do not know the details of that draft frankly at the moment. But when we see the future as I said we have to move in at tandem between the CBMs and this dialogue process. If we start moving forward on the dialogue process, all CBMs can be addressed. I would not like to move fast on CBMs, any part of the CBMs if the dialogue process is not moving forward. So therefore, the Strategic Weapons CBMs, the details of which I do not know frankly, would certainly be a part, can certainly form a part of the overall confidence building measures in the future when we start moving forward also on the dialogue process.  

ARUN:- Next question I would like Professor Amitar Mattu, Please ask.  

MATTU:- Good evening Mr. President, I am sure you will agree that we have to build a South Asian century , then we have to ensure that the bitterness of the past, the conflicts of the present and the enemy images that we have inherited had to end. And we have to ensure that the younger generation does not get poisoned by the bitterness of the past. Would you in these circumstances, Mr. President, agree to a collaboration between academics and educationists between India and Pakistan, design common courses, common curricula and common reading material to ensure that younger people of South Asia have a common positive peaceful vision of South Asia whether or not Mr. President we resolve the Kashmir issue, I hope you will agree that this needs to be done right away? Thank you.

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Thank you very much, As far as interaction between academics and educationists is concerned, I would totally agree that there should be interaction. I am totally in favour of people to people~ contact and when I talk of people to people contact obviously academics and educationists form a very important part of that contact. But when we are talking of going for a common syllabus and a common curriculum, now that I never really gave thought to. I never thought of achieving a common curriculum and a common syllabus for both our countries or for that matter for the whole of South Asia. I do not know whether this is achievable or doable. However since you have come up with the suggestion we do not mind looking into this. I think it needs contact between academics and educationists to see viability of your proposals. I would encourage their contact first of all.  

ARUN:- That is a good thing. I would like to ask now Geeta Mehta, who is a well-known author, to ask a question.  

GEETA:- Mr. President you have spoken most eloquently about the prosperity that peace would bring our region and indeed of the longing of the people of India and Pakistan for peace. Do you believe that a sustained peace is possible in the absence of civil liberties?  

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Indeed talking of civil liberties. Are you talking of civil liberties~ in my country or your own country or in both the countries, I really do not know. If you are talking of my country, I think there are civil liberties in place absolutely. Every country has its own environment and it works within that environment. And I do not think civil liberties have anything to do with peace process between India and Pakistan. They don’t come into the way at all. As I said we must believe in sovereign equality and the sovereignty of both the countries whatever are the internal issues of each country should not hinder what is to be done on a bilateral basis. I do not think it in any case, the issue of civil liberties whether in India or Pakistan stand in the way of a peace process and moving forward on peace.  

ARUN:- Thank you. Mr. M. K Singh, a member of Planning Commission, would you like to ask a question.  

SINGH:- Mr. President, no one of course knows the answer of a question whether economics drives politics or politics drives economics. But as Mr. Arun Puri referred that you made a very successful visit to Davos, speaking to the international community , speaking to the investor community as Pakistan’s economy under your distinguished leadership has begun to look up. Pakistan is seeking direct foreign investment from all parts of the world as is evident by your interaction in Davos. But the Indian business community , which is quite close to Pakistan, is looking at many gainful investment opportunities in Pakistan in the areas of pharmaceuticals, automobiles, oil and gas, telecommunications and whole range of things. Would you Mr. President in the spirit of what you said may be taking simultaneous action on many fronts to improve the quality of our relationship, take some steps which can improve the climate of confidence for the private investors community in India to look to these multiple investment opportunities in Pakistan? 

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Thank you very much. Well I think economics and politics both are important. Economics is important to every country .It lies at the core of any development. The country cannot progress unless its economy is made to move forward. But as far as politics is concerned, of course, politics is over-arching framework for any activity in a country .Therefore, they have an interrelationship. But in Pakistan we are trying to set the economic trends, although political situation is right in all its contexts. When you are talking of various areas of cooperation on the economic and commercial front between India and Pakistan. Yes indeed one does recognise and I do recognise that there is tremendous scope for mutual benefit in commercial or trade relationship. I am looking at even a gas pipeline which you need from may be Central Asia or from Iran or from Qatar. It is just our confrontation and our animosity which is not allowing you to get this pipeline through. If we reach and go for rapprochement, I am sure this avenue will be opened and what the other areas which you have mentioned or all areas where we can mutually look into complementarities and go for mutual benefits in economic relations. I totally would be favourably inclined if at all we move forward towards as I said towards the resolution of disputes. Now if you are meaning the relationship of economics and politics, that we can go ahead on the economics side, without resolution of disputes, without bothering about the political aspects of our relationship, I am afraid that is not, that is not possible at all. I think there is a relationship. We have to resolve political disputes between ourselves. We have to remove this environment of suspicion from each other and then only can we go for investments in a big way and as I said complementarities of commerce and trade in a fruitful manner .  

ARUN:- Mr. President here I may add my two bits. How about allowing media to come into your county , magazines, newspapers. I know there are a lot of agreements but that never really happened?  

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- 1 wonder whether any newspapers or magazines of Pakistan are going to India. We need to see it as one of the confidence building measures. And as far as we are concerned I know that at least I have been telling everyone to allow maximum media personalities from India, whoever wants to come, be allowed to come to Pakistan: I do not think that is the case when our media people want to go to India. I think there is more openness in our accepting media people, personalities coming here. When you are talking of newspapers and magazines coming to Pakistan and of course Pakistanis going to India, one can examine this in the CBMs in the future. We can broaden the scope of the confidence building measures. But as I said again we have to go forward on the dialogue process. We cannot be cantering and going on a sprint on the CBMs, while the dialogue process is going at snail’s pace. That is not doable. So there is a complementarily, there is a simultaneity and a linkage between the CBMs and the dialogue process. 

ARUN:- I call on Mr. Naresh Chandra, former Indian Ambassador to the US.  

NARESH:- Mr. President with your permission I would first like to convey. I would first like to congratulate your cricket team. They put up a great show and if I am not mistaken chasing a high total they put up three hundred forty four runs which is some kind of a world record. And I think Inzamam, laved and their colleagues need our congratulations. 

 PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Thank you. They did well, I think both the teams did very well.  

NARESH:- Looking forward to much more exciting cricket in the days to follow. We have all taken notes of the strong leadership that you have exercised in pushing forward the current initiative. What is bothering some of us is that how broad and deep is the consensus in support of this move and in times to come, will all sections in Pakistan support this move. And in this context 1 think the earlier question about allowing free flow of information in both countries is very important because our experience has been that the information which flows through the media might not be the best way to condition our people to be informed and to help in addressing the problems and issues that are under discussion. If you could throw some light on this, thank you?  

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Thank you very much. Thank you indeed for congratulating my team, Pakistan’ s team, as I have said both have done well. And we also in Pakistan look forward to a very interesting series in the future. On the issue of free flow of information between the two countries, I think there ought to be a free flow of information between the two countries. One point that I would like to raise here is the issue of parts of the media stopping to bad mouth or creating negative perceptions between the two countries. One of my main concerns is when we know Indian cinema and many magazines also showing the negatives of Pakistan. I think the media on both sides need to be more mature, show more maturity in dealing or in talking with issues of each other because now that such confidence building measures and a peace process is in place I would say that media needs to show more and more maturity and I think deal with, may encourage more closer relationship, encourage better understanding between the two countries rather than highlighting the negatives and exploiting may be to a certain extent situation in respective countries. We should stop that and encourage better more harmonious media interaction.  

ARUN:- Thank you Mr. President. Perhaps letting them open out is the best way.  You talked about Indian films. We have in fact here one of the leading Indian film stars Aishwarya Roy. She likes to ask you a question.  

AISHWARYA:- Good evening Mr. President, I am going to ask you a question of no relevance to fraternity I come from, not the film industry .I would like to ask you, if I may, as a lay person, as an ordinary individual, citizen of India. Mr. President if all it is truly positive the trends right now as we feel there is the first step towards …between our two nations. But HAMARI JO TEHZEEB HAY , as we hug each other today. What I would like to ask you is, are you truly feeling the warm waves of love between us or are we still sceptical and looking over our shoulders? Thank you.  

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Thank you very much. First of all I am very glad to be asked a question from one of the most popular film stars of India also known in Pakistan. Your question is related in fact part to the last question which I think I did not answer. How deep the process or the desire for peace between India and Pakistan is. Let me say I am very sure about Pakistan. It is extremely deep. I think all sections of society in Pakistan want peace, want interaction, want harmonious relationship between India and Pakistan. When we went for the joint statement between myself and Prime Minister Vajpayee, there was a surge in our stock exchange. There was a great optimism with the signs of hope that was emerging. I know this is the reality and all segments of society in all the provinces of Pakistan. There are some extremists now I know that. And such extremists are also in India and we know that also. We should not bother about that very small minority of extremists and we must go for peace in a bold manner , because we know and I know that vast majority of Pakistanis are for peace, for developing harmonious relations, for going for people to people contact, going for commerce and trade relationships. So I am very clear about what Pakistanis want.  

ARUN:- Mr. President I can safely say that most Indians want the same thing. May I request now President of CII, Confederation of Indian Industry, Anand Mahindra to ask the question.  

ANAND:- Mr. President I represent a company called Mahindra and Mahindra which was born in 1945 as Mahindra and Muhammad and the co-founder was Ghulam Muhammad who after partition left us to become, I believe, first finance Minister of Pakistan of course we could not afford to print new letter heads which said M&M hence the name of company Mahindra and Mahindra today but arguably because of that history we are amongst most of the vulnerable companies of India to collaborate with Pakistani companies but in my recent interactions with Pakistani businessmen, I found them very apprehensive about dismantling of trade barriers. They believe Indian companies with their weight or size will swamp them or I do admit. Indian businessmen had the same fears about China but today we have a trade surplus with China. Do you Mr. President share those kinds of concerns and if you don’t, what can you do to alley those fears of businessmen in Pakistan and how quickly can you move to dismantle barriers?  

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Let me tell you, I have been asking many businessmen in Pakistan if you, were to collaborate and interact economically in commerce and trade, business interaction would be the swamped, the point, that you made. Those good businessmen of Pakistan, the people who have a strong business ventures in Pakistan are very confident that they will not be swamped. Therefore, I am fairly confident and optimistic that it is not a case of protecting ourselves from this strength of the business community of India. We know you are large but we have our capacity, we have our quality also. Many good businessmen of Pakistan think that they will gain advantage through access in your market. So I think we should go ahead optimistically and I am very sure that there are lot of mutual benefits that will come our way. Now the business executive or businessmen that you interacted with, I don’t know who you interacted with, as I told you I know many business executives here who feel very confident of gains when we interact with you.  

ARUN:- So that means Mr. President that opening up could be around the comer even if the Kashmir issue is not solved.  

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- I am known in India, I think there is unifocal person who just can’t forget about Kashmir. I feel odd also, I really feel talking of Kashmir all the time. I do understand, but let me say again, I think I would be most unrealistic if I said anything other than what I have said. No leader in Pakistan can sideline the Kashmir issue. Now this is the reality and we cannot do it. If we think that we can go ahead on all confidence building measures and forget about Kashmir, not doable by any leader in Pakistan. We must understand that and I am afraid if we don’t understand this basic issue, I don’t think we can move forward. Let me put it very bluntly. I don’t think we can move forward on the confidence building measures. I don’t think we can move forward on the economic interaction unless we move forward on resolution of all disputes including the Kashmir dispute.  

ARUN:- That is quite clear, Sir. May I ask Mr. Sunil Kirmani who is one of the speakers at the Conclave, to ask the question:  

SUNIL KIRMANI:- Thank you. Mr. President, in a sense I am sticking up on a number of questions and views that have been expressed already. You might sense how we here in Delhi, and I am sure you are in Islamabad, deeply hopeful at the moment of historical reconciliation between our two peoples. My question is a very simple one. What do you see as being the largest obstacle to that either in terms of substance or process and what do you see us in India? What would you like us to do, to try and remove that obstacle? 

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Sorry, I didn’t get your question. Obstacle in the way of normalization of relations? 

 SUNIL KIRMANI:- Yes, in terms of achieving reconciliation between our two peoples, either in terms of substance or process.   

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF :- I have said that entirely in my whole speech. It contained that. I think the main issue is to develop confidence in each other, a trust in each other and this can only be done through resolution of disputes, all disputes and when I say all disputes, again I have to say including the Kashmir dispute and that is a stumbling block. I have made it very clear. That is what is stopping us. That is what is impeding relationship between the two countries.  

ARUN:- Well, let us hear a view, or a question from a former Foreign Secretary, Mr. Kanwal Sibal, perhaps he can get around Kashmir.  

KANWAL SIBAL:- Mr. President I listened to your speech with great attention obviously. All of us are very hopeful about the new process that has begun between India and Pakistan and we were asking ourselves as to what is the message that you might give us this evening. I am not sure whether the message that you have given us enhances the sense of hope of optimism or reduces it. There has been a feeling that because of various factors there has been a change in mindset on your side. But if one really carefully analyzes what you have said, there are some legitimate doubts in our minds about what we may expect from the current process because what you have clearly said is that Kashmir remains central and unless there is a forward movement on Kashmir, nothing else effectively can move including economic cooperation and then you also suggest which is a big worrying that in case there was no serious effort to resolve outstanding disputes including Kashmir, the current CBM process may not forward and in fact may go back to square one as you said. Now as you know our major concern as against your concern about Kashmir has been the issue of terrorism. So I do hope that when it is suggested we may go to square one, would not mean that there might be a resurgence of terrorism. Now the question in fact I want to ask and the context in which I want to ask is that India and China are both nuclear weapon powers, no body talks about nuclear tensions between India and China. India and China have an unresolved boundary question which from our point of view is a huge problem in terms of the occupation of large parts of our territory by China and yet we are willing to put aside this very difficult issue and move forward with China in every possible way. Our trade with China in the last three- four years has in fact gone up to over seven billion dollars, double to our trade with Japan, and the prospects are wide open for the normalization of relationship between India and China and both the countries are able to profit from this and in fact contribute meaningfully to peace and stability in Asia as a whole. What is the difficulty that you might face, Mr. President, on your side in emulating the example of India and China? 

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- I am a realist. I am a soldier and not a diplomat also. Therefore, I believe in talking straight. I don’t believe in saying things which I don’t really mean from my mind and heart. I don’t believe in bluffing my way through, saying something and then going back when we get on to the dialogue table. So therefore while my words may sound very sour or very harsh to you, but let me tell you that they come from my heart. If you don’t agree with them, that is a different issue altogether. When you talk of change in mindsets, if you mean that we ought to change our mindsets and forget about Kashmir, and you are comparing ourselves the relationship between India and Pakistan to your relationship with China. I am afraid there is lot of difference. Here we fought wars, we fought three wars and there is a Line of Control, an issue which is a United Nations Security Council recognized dispute existing since over fifty years. Every day when there was no ceasefire on the Line of Control, we were killing each other. I wonder whether you have been in Siachen, your soldiers are there. I have been to a very big height there. I know how life is. I know how they are killing each other there. I know all along the Line of Control, I have been to the frontline every year; Now these, are realities. If you can push this reality behind and forget about all this truth, about all this reality on ground and say there is nothing happening in Kashmir, just let put it, let’s forget about it and let’s remove all our soldiers and while you, while the Indian army carried on whatever is happening inside Kashmir. I am afraid it is not doable. And when you talk of the threat that I am giving that the terrorism may start etc., no not at all I am not giving that threat at all. We don’t think there is terrorism going on in Kashmir. We think there is a freedom struggle going on in Kashmir. So I am afraid we will get involved in all the discussions, which we must not do. We had made a new beginning in the form of the joint statement between Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, your leader, and myself. The text of this joint statement is very clear .It states very clearly that Pakistan and India must resolve all disputes including Kashmir, that Kashmir is a dispute which must be resolved to improve relations and that Pakistan and India are party to this dispute. Now are we saying that we are going back on this joint statement? This is written in black and white, let us use it. If we are to go back on this, then who is sidelining what? Who is changing what mindsets, we are not changing any mindsets, we are not talking of the history of the past, we are moving forward and the basis of this forward movement is the joint statement between myself and Prime Minister Vajpayee. I will adhere to this joint statement in letter and in spirit. There will be no failing on Pakistan’s part or on my part to go back on any word of this joint statement. You be the judge. You read this joint statement and let us see what happens now onward in May-June and then in July- August when the Foreign Ministers meet. It is very clear that we have to move the dialogue process forward. The whole world knows about it. So I am afraid, let us not get involved in giving examples of China-India relationships and saying that we should just forget our disputes and start moving. You don’t have much over dispute with China and as it is may I say China is a very large country, may be a strategy of coercion would not apply to China between you and China, whereas it does apply to your relationship with Pakistan. And I think in the past the issue has been and the concerns of every Pakistani has been, the coercion that they have been suffering from your country .In our region, Sir, may I say that our region, in our region the size of India is disproportionately large as compared to the other nations. That demands a certain magnanimity. Magnanimity from you, from India, being the largest partner of the region. That magnanimity has to come from your side. It cannot come from smaller partners. So therefore. I think I would’ leave it at this. There is no change in mindsets really. I am talking of reality on ground. Let us not forget reality on ground. I think if we see each other with sovereign equality , our concerns must be addressed and Pakistan’s concern certainly is to solve all disputes including Kashmir. We cannot sideline it. 

ARUN:- Mr. President, I really appreciate your straight talk, so I hope you would not mind if I do some. One country’s freedom fighter is another country’s terrorist. So the people who attacked you, attempted assassination on you, if they reacted that they were freedom fighters, what will be your reaction? 

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Certainly my reaction will be very violent. I wish I knew. May be I would have dealt with them with my own hands. Obviously, I would have forced them. Certainly there is no doubt in my mind. Any body trying to undertake suicide bombings, killing innocent civilians I would be the last person to encourage that. But I do not know whether you are equating this with what is happening in Kashmir. That is where I wouldn’t agree with you. 

ARUN:- Then we get away from Kashmir. I was in Kashmir actually. 

PRESIDENT MUSHRRAF:- You were, Isn’t it. 

ARUN:- Yes Sir, let me call on Dr. Amit Mitra who is Secretary of City of Chambers of Commerce of India. 

DR. AMIT MITRA:- Mr. President you would be happy to know that the Indian businesses today are afraid of being flooded by Pakistan. How come, an exhibition from the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry on made in Pakistan, visited Delhi and forty thousand visitors swarmed the exhibition, showing the kind of affection rather than commerce that we can do with each other. Only this week, however, Mr. President, I must humbly suggest that the most favoured nation treaty still eludes us from the end of Pakistan, though we have signed this

SAFTA agreement. Our unofficial trade Mr. President is approximately one point ~even billion US dollars. Which will all be official trade. No lorry can go from Amritsar to Lahore. There is not even a warehouse in the no-man’s land. In other words, the potential is there but we are dithering. Could you give us in few words what is your exact vision of opening up, what measures you wish to take towards the synergy between our two economies in specific terms, Mr. President, Thank you.

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Thank you, certainly a lot of synergy and I am very glad that somebody in India thinks that Pakistan can swamp the Indian markets. Yes, we have some potential, some areas of strength which can be of use, to benefit Pakistan, but I think opening up of trade and commercial relations will benefit both the countries. We will have a large market certainly because you are about one billion strength. But at the same time your products will find certainly a market in Pakistan. So it would be of mutual benefit of both. But as I have said when you talk of vision, I have given my vision and I do not want to repeat it. There is certainly a linkage between political relationship between the two countries and economic activity and commercial activity .You cannot isolate the two. I say when there is hatred between the two countries, we are killing each other as I said daily, we have fought wars, we do not like each other, we have just played a cricket match after fifteen years. How can you think it can be milk and honey in just few days and it can be milk and honey without resolving those disputes. I think We are not being realistic. This is what I am all the time saying. I know that all of you are sitting there may be getting disappointed because I am saying, I am talking all the same things on removing the confrontational aspects of the relationship. But I will repeat I am realist and I believe in a practical, practicable approach to problems. We have to resolve disputes and then go forward to build commercial, economic, trade relationship. This is my vision. I do not think that one can, we can sideline the political aspect of our relationship and go only on our economic and trade and commercial relationship. That is not practicable that is not doable. It is very unrealistic. That is my vision. 

 ARUN:- Sir, it, seems to me that whenever Indians and Pakistanis meet, or visit each others country , there is lot of love, lot of affection, great amount of hospitality and sometimes it is seen that there are politicians getting in the way. Do you get that feeling. 

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- I said that. I said that in my initial statement that the problem is with the leadership. Yes, the people want to have peace and harmony. But if you come here and say that you just forget about Kashmir, I can tell you that the answer that you will get will be different. If you come and say here that forget about all political disputes, let us have good economic relations, you are going to get a different answer. What the hope and the positive optimism that has developed now is because people here think, that we are going to resolve all our disputes. It is not only because we are going to develop economic and commercial ties between each other. The optimism is and I will repeat is mainly because people here have started thinking that our disputes are going to be resolved. 

ARUN:- I believe Indian films are very popular in Pakistan. We have here one of our leading film directors and producers Mr. Subhash Ghoy who would like to ask you a question, sir. 

 SUBHASH GHOY:- To be very brief. We all know that we have been fighting in the past and facing political differences. But as a movie maker, as a writer, director, producer I always felt that our movies, music and our stories have been receiving a warm welcome by the people of Pakistan. Somewhere in my heart, we are the same by culture, we are very close to each other. And it will be really a very very happy news for the film industry , for the artists, for technicians, and if we can really join hands and make movies together for each other. Thank you sir. What do you think the future .of welcoming each other, if everything is settled down? Thank you.  

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- There is scope. I think on the cultural interaction, there is lot of scope. And when you are talking of your films being popular in Pakistan, yes, they are popular in Pakistan. But let me also say that the war movies and the Kashmir movies that you produce are not repeat not held in good stead here at all because I think you make, I don’t want to be very blunt, I don’t think you are realistic at all. I think you try to portray or try to make, to try ridicule our forces, which is not at all held in good stead here and -you do it in many of your movies. I haven’t seen many. I did see one. I don’t want to name it because there was so much talk about it and I found it to be absolutely absurd. And I would request ,Aishwarya Roy who is sitting there not to act in such movies.’ I know, I think they are quite ridiculous when you come to, because they are most unrealistic. They are absolutely unrealistic and I wouldn’t like an artist of your stature Aishwarya to be acting in such movies. I think there should be some balance in portrayal. 

ARUN:- Mr. President, does it mean you allow love stories to be distributed in Pakistan barring war films. 

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Things are absolutely alright as long as they are realistic. I mean they should not be absolutely totally unrealistic and one sided that you are dealing with pigmies on the other side and you are going around the other side. I think you should be a little realistic. 

ARUN:- Thank you very much Mr. President 

ARUN:- May I ask a person from our journalistic community? Shekher Gupta to ask a question: 

GUPTA:- Let me try and shift the subject from something as contentious as Kashmir to something on which there should be greater unanimity namely democracy. This is an unusual year, 72 nations around the world are going for elections. The most rare in human history .Second point no two democracies in our history have ever gone to war with each other, and third, of the countries going to elections this year is also India, so my question is in this great global march towards democratization, do not you feel your country is getting badly left behinds. If so what is the~ plan to do to bring in more democracy in Pakistan may be that would even further the cause of peace because democracies do not go to war with each other. Do you have any anxieties about Indian election? Elections throw surprises. You can presume nothing. Will your propose one more easy CBM which does not have to wait for the solutio1J of Kashmir problem and allow to be telecast in Pakistan. Why deprive your people of the entertainment that our politicians can provide very often. Sir, having said that if you permit me a little note of correction, you said that from Agra to Islamabad India moved a lot accepting the centrality of Kashmir. I am an independent observer. I also have access to some drafts as I am sure your senior journalists, would also like to suggest that Pakistan moved a great deal in fact from Agra to Islamabad in position on cross boarder terrorism, on which it had never given-in in the past. 

PRESIDENT:- Ok let me answer the last part first. I have always about hundred times in United Nations, every forum been saying that Pakistan will not at all in favor of any kind of export of terrorism from Pakistan into any other area. I have been saying that all alone and I have also clearly been differentiating between what is happening in Kashmir. We in Pakistan do not call that cross boarder terrorism we call it a freedom struggle. So I do not think we have changed our stance, however I mean let’s not dispute or let’s not tear this very sacrosanct document apart. There is a joint statement, which has been initiated between Prime Minister Vajpayee and myself. I think it is a very good way forward. We must not try to undermine its value through extracting bugs in this document so I will leave it as that. I think the document is very good and it is a good way forward. Now you started by talking about democracy. I take very strong exception to this. If you think that there is no democracy in Pakistan. I am afraid I do not agree with that at all. I do not even want to answer this question there is democracy in Pakistan, election have been held in Pakistan and every thing is being done in a very democratic manner . Democracy believes in human rights, I think the human rights here are may be in many ways better than human rights in your country .Freedom of speech, freedom of media, freedom of expression may be in many ways is more than that in your country so that is also a part of democracy other than that if you are talking of other issues constitutional issues, parliamentary issues, I think every thing that your country is going through is happening here also. So I think I do not agree with you at all if you are meaning that there is no democracy in Pakistan and we need to move towards democracy. We have our own environment and also may I say we do not accept anybody from out side Pakistan to meddle in our internal affairs. We run our country the way we like it to be run and we do not expect any other country to interfere. If I was to tell you that you need to look after minorities in your country .You need to stop carnage going on in Kashmir and in Gujrat, how would you feel about it. You need to ensure more human rights by not attacking the Sikhs in Golden Temple, by not destroying Ayodhya Mosque. We do not want to interfere in your internal affairs. Why are you interfering in our internal affairs there should be democracy or no democracy, We deal with sovereign equality , we deal in our country’s internal affairs as we want so please do not get involved what we are doing in our own country. Beyond this, the relationship between our two countries have to be developed, based on the joint statement arrived at between Prime Minister Vajpayee and myself. Pakistan will move forward on each and every aspect of that and we look forward to a very good start. Whether there is democracy in 72 countries and holding elections, we have already held our elections and next elections are due in 2007. We will do that on time. Our local bodies elections are due next year, we will hold them in time. so I do not really know what you are inferring when you say that elections are being held in so many countries, so how does it Pertain to Pakistan , I do not know. 

ARUN:- I do not want to interfere in your internal affairs, but could I just for my information, know whether former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif could return to Pakistan? 

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Benazir has gone out on her own will, we did not send her out. She went out herself during the pervious governments term. There are certain charges against her and she has to face those charges. No body has told her not to come back. As far as Nawaz Sharif is concerned, he has gone back through the mediation of a friendly country and a friendly leader and he also went laughing all the way on his own will. The whole family went there and they are there on their own accord and own sweet will. And they can only come back when this agreement mediated by this friend comes to an end. 

ARUN:- I will like to call on former High Commissioner in Pakistan G. Partha Sarthi to ask question.  

PARTHA SARTHI:- Good evening Mr. President. I have three separate questions to ask you very specially after the recent controversy which we have had about Pakistani scientists being involved in nuclear proliferation. The question is of greater transparency in Pakistan’s nuclear policies. Could you let us know when and if Pakistan will have a formal nuclear doctrine instead of continuously saying that Kashmir is a nuclear flash point, what ever that may be? My second question Mr. President is you spoke of fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and you are talking on the Al-Qaida on Pakistani Soil. The Americans and the Afghans also speak of Taliban Presence on Pakistani soil. Do you intend to take them on as firmly as you intend to take on the Al-Qaida. And the lastly, 3rd question Mr. President, I come from southern India where we have no relatives in Pakistan and the present visa policy is very restrictive only for friends and relatives. Do not you think if we want to get to know each other better, we should have normal tourism like any other two countries would have? Thank you. 

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Thank you very much on the nuclear doctrine, we very much have a nuclear doctrine, I don’t know how you think that Pakistan has not even got a nuclear doctrine .Let me tell you that our strategic assets, the command and control the custodial control that we have established may be better than yours and these are all documented .As far as, not nuclear doctrine itself, is very much there. So I think you are misinformed. We have a doctrine. And it has no relationship with the Kashmir disputes as such. As I said we have defensive strategy of minimum defensive deterrence and that is what we are following. Talking of Al-Qaida and Taliban .Yes we are operating against Al-Qaida in our tribal region in the Frontier Province. When we talk of Taliban and whether we are going to act against them. This term Taliban is the most misunderstood term. When you say Taliban, who are you meaning really. I would like to ask you who are you meaning when you say Taliban .If you are meaning all the Talibs which are the product of the students studying in our-madrassas, they are Taliban. If you are meaning all of them, certainly we are not acting against them. If you are meaning all of Pakhtoons in Afghanistan, certainly we are not acting against them at all. So who are the Taliban really? So we identify Taliban as far as we are concerned very clearly. This is previous Mullah Omer Government their abettors, their supporters, we will not encourage them to be here at all. We will not allow them in Pakistan and we will certainly arrest them and send them back or deport them to Afghanistan as we did in one on two cases where we did catch a few of their members and sent them back to the Afghan Government. We will act against them certainly. I said that we will act against any non-Pakistani in Pakistan, that includes any body whether it is Al-Qaida or Taliban. But we need to be clear on what we mean by Taliban. The last issue that you raised was the visa issue. All visa restrictions some how are the same. You lay down similar restrictions and we do the same. I think when we go for confidence building measures, we move forward on resolution of disputes, I am very clear that these issues of visa will be getting resolved more amicably in the future. 

ARUN: – At least that’s not tied up with the Kashmir. I would like to request Mr. Rajendar Paul. Who is an eminent businessman of India to ask you a question. 

RAJENDAR PAUL :- Mr. President before I talk about information technology which is the subject I am involved with I do want to make an observation. Right through these last 45 minutes, I experienced, periods of joy and periods of sadness. Whenever we are talking of cold logic and reasoning, I felt. very sad. Whenever we shared any moment, which is about emotions and feelings, I felt very good. I think that’s really the situation between these two countries, for a long time. So while we were rejoicing and enjoying the game of cricket, the moment we start discussing logic and reason, we just seem to be going backward. In some sense, the new dialogue which is opening many fronts has a lot to do with feeling and emotions and some to do with logic, I think the balance is valid but I tend to feel that if we can give feelings a little vent a logic will follow. There is an old saying which says that the way the east thinks and the way the west thinks is different in one respect. We say in the east we have faith and proofs follow and in the west we believe they have proofs and faith follows. My humble suggestion is that we get into this very important phase of breakthrough. I see that gives an opportunity of a breakthrough, lets not to try an over balance feelings, logic and emotions if we have to make a little bit of differences in these two. Let the feelings come forward because I think the warmth, which is getting generated and can get generated will dissolve the tricky problem we are trying to solve, that was just an observation on information technology. I think in the opportunities India is surging ahead. We are beginning to find tremendous opportunity for people in India as you look at the outsourcing business opportunities in the west. From India we are already beginning to look at building development centers from outside India and we are talking of Philippines, we are talking all the way of China as well. It is only natural for us to look at Pakistan as a partner in this, this is also feel may be you do not need to make good and bodies connections can be established and work can be done virtually. I believe that this is an area that cooperation could be very rapid and very quick and yet it is not figuring among the important points for discussion. I would like to know your specific view on whether you think, the whole field of IT is something we should get a much more serious look of and how we could do collaboration. I would like to hear your views about this. 

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Thank you very much for your idea of logic and emotions I think both are important and they are interlinked. We cannot set logic aside and go only on the path of emotion because we will fail. However I take a point, I do take your points, coming to your issue of information technology. I do know that India is doing very well in information technology. Pakistan during the last three or four years when my Government was in place, we have developed an infrastructure, information technology infra structure, and we trained our manpower also and I think we have tremendous potential in information technology in the development of information technology and I very much agree with you that this is one area where we can collaborate for our mutual benefits. Certainly when we move forward on economic or commercial interaction, information technology has a lot of complementarily to benefit both of us and we would like to move forward on this. 

ARUN:-  Nice, positive. I would like to now call on Jay Panda, he is a young MP in our parliament Mr. President he would like to ask a question. 

 JAY PANDA:- Mr. President we Indians have long had a secret and grudging admiration for you for your vigorous, energetic and nimble style of leadership which you have demonstrated but it is that very nimbleness with words and sometimes facts that has some of us wondering how serious you are about peace and then the other issue that Mr. Shekher Gupta raised about democracy. Even accepting that Pakistan today has democracy and going by your own statement there is further evolution expected. Perhaps you will cease to have two posts as chief of the armed forces as well as president. Now some people think that we should take advantage of this period while you do have both posts. Some people think that perhaps democracy ought to have, that further step of revolution which you, yourself have announced before we can, really have a chance for peace or so tell us Mr. President why are you the best person for us to deal with and deal with now to have peace. 

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Thank you very much first issue of how serious I am about peace and your doubt that I am not serious about peace. Well let me put it bluntly that we have very serious doubts that you are not serious about peace. So who is right and who is wrong I don’t know. So that is to say that there are suspicions on both sides we think that you are following a strategy which will do good to you and side line issues, side lines disputes, and you are not serious about these. This is the main suspicion of Pakistanis here, but similar is your suspicion; when you say that I am not serious about peace. Now I feel its very odd that you some times in India and even now in this forum. I feel a little bit over ridiculed. When one talks of Kashmir as if this is an unimportant issue which is being spoken about unnecessarily over, and over again. This increases one’s suspicion that what we have written in the joint press statement between myself and Prime Minister Vajpayee, may be you don’t mean it, may be the people of India don’t mean it. When we have written that Kashmir is a dispute which needs to be resolved, may be you don’t mean it because this is our suspicion exactly it has existed in the past and now when in this elite August forum if everyone thinks that it is a very minor, irritant that I am raising unnecessarily and trying to emphasize it unnecessarily, it disappoints me, it disheartens me, it saddens me also that may be we don’t want to resolve it and we think that we can go forward on all issues. So let me say again with all my conviction? r am very serious about peace but if your version of peace is don’t resolve political disputes, that is not my version of peace, so there is a difference we need to sit down and clarify and really reach an understanding before we precede further. I only hope that Prime Minister Vajpayee, the foreign secretary , the foreign ministers who are to interact are very clear in their minds on what we have decided in that joint statement and we move forward on that. What I have told you on the simultaneously, on the linkage between confidence building measures and the dialogue process is nothing new, let me tell you I had verbatim said this to PM Vajpayee also. I am not saying something new to you, which I have not said to anyone else. And this has exactly been said to your Foreign Secretary when he came here, and it will exactly be conveyed to your Foreign Minister when he meets my Foreign Minister. So really I mean let’s be very clear, if we think that we can just go on economic ties, cultural ties and relationship, media interaction, exchange of films, exchange of artists, and that is all, we are the most unrealistic people. We have not succeeded in the last 50 years, I don’t know whether we will take another 50 or 100 years to succeed again. I am not the man who can really sit here and be unrealistic and impractical and do not address issues and hide my feelings, be hypocritical when I come in front of anyone whether it is the negotiation or an August gathering like this. I am not that. I try to be realistic, but in my realism, if you think that I am being very stubborn very obstinate, not understanding your point of view, I am very much understanding your point of view. I very much understand realities on ground and I very much also do understand what is the way forward. I do not think the way forward is as you people are thinking, that disappoints me and the faster we understand and are prepared to be bold enough to face realities on ground that much the better. Otherwise when I say we would not be able to move forward, I am not trying to raise alarms. I am just trying to be realistic. It will not happen, not because I do not want it, because that those are the realities, which have existed for 50 years and can not be sidelined and forgotten. So if you think they can will, ok, let’s try. But I am afraid we will fail again. I do not want to fail, but let leave it like this. And this is my feeling. I only hope with all my seriousness, with all my sincerity that we move forward on the path of peace. 

ARUN:- I am afraid we are running out of time. I would like to take this opportunity of thanking President Musharraf for spending so much time with us for answering questions just so well in terms of being straight, analytical no punches pulled, I think he is very clear .The fact that Kashmir is a central issue is not running away from it and I think that there is something the government of India well realizes. I think also the fact that he is referring to a document signed in Islamabad and is going to implement it by the later is also a great sign of optimism for us and hope. And he is serious about stopping cross border terrorism, I think, is another great hope for us. I think if the government of India and Pakistan talk the way president Musharraf has spoken to us and they talk straightforwardly openly and not play games with each other, I think there is going to be a hope that even intractable problems like Kashmir can be solved or at least if not solved, we can continue to talk about it how to solve it But it requires straight talks, I think President Musharraf has set a great example for this to show how it can be done .1 like to thank you sir, for spending this time. I only have one little request that do not tie up Kashmir with opening up films, media and those soft issues specially when beautiful Aishwarya Roy has requested you sir to please open it up. Please do think about it. I thank you again. Thank you President Musharraf. Please give him a standing ovation. Thank you  

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF:- Thank you very much. If you are still hearing me, I would like to say that forums like this do play a very important role in developing understanding. All that I would request you to be very realistic. Let’s we very pragmatic, let we very bold to resolve disputes and go forward on the path that you yourselves want and Pakistanis want. You will not find me not being bold and not being sincere. I thank you ladies and gentlemen. Thank you. 


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