15 June 2005, Australia
Mr. Ken Randal, President of the National Press club, honorable members of the Press Club, Distinguished guests and ladies and Gentlemen I am extremely grateful to the Press Club for providing me an opportunity to address such an august gathering. First of all before saying any thing I would like to express my gratitude to the people and govt of Australia for all the warmth, hospitality, the cordiality and many courtesies being extended to me, my wife and to my delegation since the time we have come here. I am looking forward to my interaction with PM John Howard to discuss bilateral and international issues. May I say being the first leader from Pakistan to Australia, may I also add that we have a lot of catching up to do in all fields of political relationship and economic and commercial ties.
So I look forward to it because we have a common commitment to it to the promotion of peace and development in our respective regions and in the world. Well it have been suggested that I speak on Pakistan as a link for world security and development. Pakistan is indeed pivotal state of 150 million populations. One area where we have done consistently very well is large population growth right from our independence unfortunately. We are strategically located and we are committed to playing our destined role to peace, stability and development in the world. I am not going to go into past when Pakistan was a part of very important security alliance system or when we became a very crucial link in providing the linkage between the United States and China, more than three decades ago which consequently led to the opening out of China to the world. What I will concentrate on is the present and future.
I will focus on the present when global circumstances have obliged Pakistan to play a very crucial role for world security and development. First of all I would like to talk about the threat of terrorism, danger of polarization between western and Islamic society, the fear of rising extremism and concerns over nuclear and weapons of mass destruction proliferation. In this context I will explain why Pakistan happens to be at the center of these challenges how our policies and actions are helping to address them and in helping to strengthen the world’s security.
I will candidly mention the aspersion that has been cast and false notions that are associated with Pakistan and its policies not withstanding the fact that today, most world leaders acknowledge and appreciate our contribution in trying to make our region and world safer and better place.
Western media some time has some time portrayed Pakistan as a breeding ground for terrorism and our society as troubled, intolerant and extremist. We were long blamed for supporting Taliban and their extremist policies. There are accusations against our intelligence agencies. Pakistan is suspected as a main proliferator of weapons of mass destruction. I, first of all, would like to clear these aspersions placing facts in their proper prospective. So, therefore, I consider it very important that we need to know what we have gone through especially in the past two and half decades because that is important then to understand our responses to each event.
I would like to speak what has been happening in Afghanistan first of all. I would like to start with the happening sine 1979 with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It was 1979 when the real upheaval started in Afghanistan with Soviet invasion as I said. Jihad or religious war was initiated in Afghanistan in response to Soviet occupation. This was done by the West, the United States and Pakistan was used in the lead role in this Jihad against Soviet Union. Who fought this Jihad other than the Afghan people themselves. There were Mujahideen about 20 to 30 thousands from all over the Muslim world specially the Arab world who were brought in, equipped, trained, financed and sent in top Afghanistan. Secondly, they were Taliban from the Madressah of Pakistan who were equipped, trained, financed, weapon given and sent into Afghanistan and there were a number of other mercenary groups from Pakistan. There were many religiously motivated who were again trained, equipped and sent into Afghanistan. This was Jihad which was waged for ten long years from 1979-89 against Soviet. Pakistan and Afghanistan have paid a very heavy price for this Jihad against Soviet Union but I may say that West was benefited because it was this Jihad or this war against the Soviet Union which acted as a catalyst to freedom movement in Eastern Europe and also may say facilitated the break ups or collapse and unraveling of Soviet Union. So this war in Afghanistan fought by all these groups which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and victory in the cold war but however region suffer. Unfortunately, after these ten long years in 1989 every one left the scene and Pakistan was left high and dry to find for 2 itself and it led to enter nuisance warfare by tribal war lords in Afghanistan. About dozen war lords fighting themselves ravaging and destroying the nation of Afghanistan but fall out on Pakistan was four million refugees come in to Pakistan together with these refugees, of course, its impact on Pakistan in the whole decades of 90s. All the Mujahideen who were hold up inside Afghanistan, there were 20-30 thousand Mujahideen who came from all over the world. They started coalescing into Al-Qaeda during the decade of 90s. The phenomenon of Taliban emerged in middle of 90s. I have always been advocating then when I came on the scene in 1999 that we ought to recognize and interact with the Taliban. So that world joins hand, in moderating them and changing them from with in but however, unfortunately, it was not agreed by any one. I did talk with every one in the world but whatever happened in 90s the situation in Afghanistan trotted going bad to worst and Al-Qaeda was created so much so that so with all the financing from the Middle East. Al-Qaeda started exercising the dominance and influence on the Afghan govt and Taliban while we were there only to recognize Taliban. I often wonder now with hind side if my please to recognize Taliban and try to change them with in had been accepted may be Bamian Buddhas could have been saved and may be even 9/11 could have been averted. However, world didn’t agree and took up to the reality of the catastrophic attack of 9/11. With that Pakistan catapulted again as a front liner state and center stage after the 12 years of stagnation since 1989 but however this time the role was opposite. We were again in front row to fight against terrorism but this time we were suppose to undo what we together did in 80s that is what Pakistan faced. So this is all that happened in Afghanistan and its fall out on Pakistan.
Then let’s look at its eastern border. Kashmir freedom struggle started in 1989. I won’t go into details but 70 years on it still continues unabated. All this turmoil on our eastern border and west had a tremendous impact on our society in Pakistan. Having given this over all picture of what has been happening in our region and its fall out on Pakistan.
Let me say that Pakistan rejects terrorism. We have suffered on its account. Terrorism is anti progress and regressive and threat to modern societies. There is no doubt in our minds. Pakistan could not have escaped the negative fall out of hosting millions of refugees. I know your response when 150- 200 refugees coming to coming to Australia but we had 4 million of them in Pakistan. Afghan conflict and the Kashmiri freedom struggle had its impact over us. Over the years the extremist organizations sprang up in Pakistan with element susceptible to convert into terrorism.
We are fighting terrorism in Pakistan frontally. We have used force. We have deployed 70 thousands troupes on our western borders. We have paid a price. We have suffered 250 causalities but we are winning. Why I do say that we are winning because we first operated against Al Qaeda in our cities. These were same Mujahideen hold up in Afghanistan during the 90s when the devastation taken place. They shifted base into comforts of Pakistan into our cities. So we operated against them and very successfully using all intelligence means. We apprehended, eliminated and deported over 700 Al-Qaeda members. Many of them were the top leaders of Al-Qaeda and the latest catch was Al Libbi, who master minded suicide attack on me. He was third in the list of seniority of Al-Qaeda. We caught several with millions of head money. That has been our contribution in fighting against Al-Qaeda. No other country has done what Pakistan has done. Other than that we went in to mountains because we got information and intelligence that they are in the mountain and when we talk of mountain in our Western border with Afghanistan these are inaccessible areas of several tribal agencies of Pakistan where even British didn’t go in.
For the first time in history Pakistan Army penetrated in to these tribal agencies in all seven of them. Then we had established an intelligence network. The important thing operating against terrorist is to have intelligence more than operations. Operation is easier but getting the intelligence on the where the enemy is a difficult part. So we went in and establish intelligence in three tears that is human intelligence, technical intelligence, aerial surveillance and it’s took time. When we realized that there is Al- Qaeda by the hundreds may be in the valleys in one of the agencies that is South Waziristan agencies. We sent in 70000 troupes and I am very glad to say that we occupied about 5 valleys in South Waziristan. These valleys were used by Al-Qaeda as their command and control basis and their communication basis. They had tunnels where they had their exchanges and their propagandas place. We got two truck loads of electronic goods e.g. TV, computers, disc, and CDs in a place. These were their logistic places. So we occupied their 3 sanctuaries and they know on the run in the mountains in their small penny packets. In military terms why I have said that we have succeeded because I believe in an opposing force. If you can break the lateral and vertical communication linkages of an opposing force. It ceases to exist as a homogeneous entity. So I believe in Pakistan Al-Qaeda today ceases to exist as a homogeneous entity with good command and control because we have broken their horizontal and vertical linkages. So this is the success that we have met against Al-Qaeda. How ever may I say all the success not withstanding. This is immediate context of war on terrorism, war against Al-Qaeda that is using force. But these can not and will not lead to ultimate success or victory.
Ultimate success lies in a, long term strategy. A long term strategy basically has two ingredients. First, the resolution of all political disputes. We have to address all the root causes of extremism and terrorism. In the long term strategy and root cause of the political disputes which cause alienation, sense of deprivation, a sense of hopelessness, powerlessness which lead people to extremism and terrorism. Resolution of political disputes, unfortunately, almost all of them involve Muslims. Resolving all of these disputes with justice is the first core of the long term strategy. The second is poverty and illiteracy. This also is the main reason for this act is breeding around of extremism and terrorism. So, socio-economic development, addressing poverty and illiteracy issues is a second long term strategy. Unless we have the two track short term immediate strategy with the long term strategy implemented we will not succeed against terrorism. So therefore my appeal to all in the world is that we must execute long term strategy as soon as possible.
I will not talk of parallel danger of this theory of clash of civilizations. I think this will lead to a lot of turbulence rather additional turbulence in the world. It is not fact.
There is no dispute between Islam and any other religion. Moses and Jesus are recognized as Prophets in the Quran, the respect that Muslim gives to Moses and Jesus. Every Muslim gives that much respect and they are recognizing Prophets in Islam.
So it’s only misled individuals who are involved in extremism and terrorism. Their perception should not be taken as what Islam stands for. So I am totally against of any theory of clash of civilization. How ever in the view that is happening, turmoil in the Muslim world specially, I believe inter-believe and intercivilization harmony is the need of the hour and that is what that prompted me to come out with the strategy of enlightened moderation.
I believe enlightened moderation has three tears. It is a strategic concept. On the first tear is global rapprochement. It is two pronged strategy to be implemented. One pronged implemented by the Muslim world to reject extremism and terrorism and go on the path of socio-economic development because all the social sector indicators Muslims are the worst of the worst in the world. The other pronged deliver by the west and it is extremely important that the second prong is delivered other wise this second prong will never succeed and that is resolve all the political dispute with justice involving Muslims. So this is the two pronged strategy at the global level. Then the second tear down is to be implemented by the Muslim world and we are doing it already by the way and that is reorganize or restructure the OIC, the only forum that represents whole Muslim world. It’s restructuring needs to do two things. Facilitate the socio-economic development of Muslim world that is specially poverty and illiteracy which is the core of terrorism and extremism. Secondly, project and understand the real values of Islam which ahs been high jacked by the extremist and terrorists and the world thinks that is Islam. Understand the core values of Islam, the essence of Islam with in ourselves and projected it to the out side world. This is the job of OIC and steps have been taken in that direction in last OIC summit in Kula Lumpur. This strategy of enlightened moderation was accepted and we are moving forward in implementing that. The third tear, may I say, at the lowest level is to be delivered by the individual countries in accordance with their own environment in the Muslim world.
I talk only of Pakistan. Pakistan is addressing dual problem of religious extremism and terrorism as I said by Al-Qaeda or Taliban and also sectarian terrorism and extremism with in our own society. We have taken strategic measures and implementing a very holistic strategy to meet with this dual threat. Other than the military confrontation against terrorists we have banned all extremism organizations in Pakistan. We are trying to modify our curriculum and syllabus to teach real values of Islam in order to harmonize our society and bring peace and stability. We are checking their distribution of publication of hate material in Pakistan. We are checking mosques which are using loud speakers to spread sectarian and religious hatred against each other. We are trying to main stream students of Madressah in to life and society 4 of Pakistan by telling them to adopt as taught in various board of Pakistan. Other than that another very important thing that we are doing is we are encouraging the national discourse to emphasis the real values of moderation, tolerance and progress which are central to our faith and to our national ethos.
In this way I see a role for Pakistan as a moderate, progressive Islamic country true to its vision of founding father that can also be a bridge of understanding between the Islamic societies and west. This is yet another link that binds Pakistan to global security and harmony. We are looking for a peaceful and secure environment in our region that has remained disturbed because of Afghanistan and unresolved Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
On Afghanistan we support the bond process and we support three parallel activities going on there. One is the political activity and Pakistan has supported the election campaign in the political activity in Presidential election and will also support Parliamentary election to take place in September. On the military side, the military operation that is going on our side of the border with Afghanistan has a direct effect on anti terrorism campaign or operations in Afghanistan. So, we are also contributing there. Thirdly, the reconstruction in Afghanistan, in spite of our limited resources we are contributing substantially to reconstruction in Afghanistan. So, these are Pakistan’s individual efforts to bring harmony, peace and stability in Afghanistan. The other side is Indo-Pakistan conflict and our relations with India. We are trying to bring peace and harmony in our relation with India. There is rapprochement going on. We have fought three wars with them and numbers of skirmishes. I have dubious honor of fighting in the two of the wars directly or indirectly involved in other skirmishes. I share this because I understand the ravages of war. I understand it more than any one who has not fought a war. Therefore, I am for peace and harmony between India and Pakistan today.
The latest confrontation you may have heard of in 2002 where 1 million Indian troupes were mobilized against borders. We responded it in kind but I am very glad that although the world saw this then and got alarmed and saw it as the nuclear flash point of the world but the positive aspect of this confrontation is when we finally after 10 months we deescalated was realization that coercive is no more option in our region. So we have to go for peace and no coercion will work in South Asia. So, therefore, a process of rapprochement is going on between India and Pakistan.
We are moving in two parallel excess that is CBMs and other is conflict resolution and I believe they have to move in tandem. We can’t brush the disputes under the carpet as we have been doing in the past. This time it can’t be dispute management. We have tried it in the past and failed always. One war led to peace declaration but another war to another peace declaration and another skirmish because we used to brush the conflict under the carpet. This it is very clear in my discussion with PM Manmohan Sing that this time is for the conflict resolution but not conflict management and if we fail to do that we would repeat the history of the past but I may say here with optimism that we both agree that we have to resolve the dispute and therefore my optimism. Since the leadership and the people are both in India and Pakistan want peace. I am optimistic that we will resolve our disputes hopefully in the future. We are trying our best and we will give it the best short. Our stand on the issue is very clear. We have to reach a resolution of the Kashmir dispute which is acceptable to India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. I think there is an agreement on this also. Therefore we are moving and I am optimistic. I would ask the world community and Australia that you can play the role in urging both the parties to reach the resolution of the dispute while we are in the bilateral mode of resolving dispute. The resolution of Indo-Pak dispute will lead to tremendous development in South Asia because it is this conflict which has kept us apart from the economic development and interaction of rest of Asia. The South Asia doesn’t have the intra-regional corporation. As some body put it very wisely, they said that “when two elephants fight, the grass underneath gets trampled”. So we have stopped fighting. We are trying to resolve our dispute and going for rapprochement. This where we stand on Afghanistan and indo-Pakistan are coming to very shortly on the nuclear issue. Pakistan nuclear capability was developed as a response to India’s testing its nuclear device in 1974 and 1998. Pakistan follows militarily strategy of minimum deterrence and this strategy has been quantified in terms of Army, Navy and Air Force in the conventional sense. When India had done conventional, we quantified the same strategy in terms of missiles and nuclear devices. That is reality of the situation in Pakistan. However, we are opposed to arm race as I said that arm race gets enhanced only when threat 5 rises and since our strategy is minimum defensive deterrence we have to maintain that deterrence. So arm race will be reduced if threat is reduced to Pakistan. This is the bottom line. So we are oppose to the arm race whether it is conventional or unconventional and also oppose to nuclear proliferation and regret the wrong doing of a mislead scientist.
Pakistan has now developed very strong custodial command and control system. There is a lot of apprehension what we have and our ability to handle them. Let me assure you ladies and gentlemen we have very strong custodial control. We have developed a National Command Authority at the top. We have a Strategic Planning Division and a Secretariat controlling the development of all the assets. Then we have Army, Navy and Air Force strategic force command where all the assets are very well under the control. Their falling in to hands of terrorists and extremists doesn’t arise. Let me assure to this house.
Lastly talking of regional development I have spoken of security. As far as development is concerned I would like to say that the main challenge we faced when I came on scene in 1999 I was introduced, I would like to correct, when I cease power. I didn’t cease power I was given. Infact I always say it was a counter coup but not a coup. I was in the air when every thing happen in the ground.
When I landed I had Pakistan and I was leader of Pakistan. When I analyze Pakistan of 1999 we were being declared as a fail state, defaulter state, a terrorist state. Our socio-economic problem was our problem number one, economic revival of Pakistan and also introducing sustainable democracy in Pakistan. It is an irony that a man in uniform talking of democracy but let me assure this house that democracy never functioned in Pakistan. Therefore, we had so many martial laws in Pakistan. One is to analyze why martial laws? What has happened? So we did that? We have revived the economy of Pakistan. This defaulted and failed state is doing very well on economy. All the micro economic indicators are positive. Our GDP growth is one of the best in Asia. It is 8.4 this year and 6.4 % last year. Our foreign exchange reserves are healthy. Credit rating is reasonably high. It was at the bottom of the rung in standard and Poor and needy but now it is much better. Our exchange rate is stable. Fiscal deficit and inflation are well under control. The external balance of the payment which was ion deficit is now in surplus. Our exports have shown arises almost 90 % in the last 5 years. Our revenue collection has risen by almost 100 % in the last five years. Our remittance by Pakistani in abroad has risen from 400 % in last 5 years. So these are 100 of % increase and therefore our economy is now very strong footing and micro economic indicators are very positive and I am very sure that this will be sustainable in the future. We are also diverting much more funds to the social sector. We, on education, are diverting increased fund by thousand of percent. To science and technology we have increased by 3000 %. You will be surprise to know that no emphasis was given in the past and we are doing that now.
So on the last is the political restructuring and unfortunately it has fallen on the man in uniform to bring sustainable democracy in Pakistan and that is what I am doing. How I am doing it by bringing the gross root democracy in Pakistan. We have done that through a local govt system. We have people of Pakistan and changed the colonial system of past where Deputy Commissioner and SP police were ruling a district. They now come under the people and elected representatives of people. That representative have financial, Political and administrative authority in his hand. So we introduced the local govt. we empowered the women of Pakistan. Today 40 thousands women are sitting in political authority. These two ladies can be recognized. They are the members of the Parliament in Pakistan. We have empowered the minorities in Pakistan. So this is what we have done at the local govt level and we have also introduced check and balances on the top. Therefore, I am sure that we have introduced sustainable democracy in Pakistan and I hope it will not derail in future.
I would to end here on the economic front that Pakistan totally wants to concentrate on economy in commerce and trade in this century of geo-economic. Pakistan should be seen as a hub not as a stand alone country. If you see the geographic location of Pakistan we stand at the cross roads of Gulf, Middle East, and the land locked Central Asia and Afghanistan, South Asia and also Western region of China, which is developing very fast, the only access of West China is through China. It is ¼ distance over China. So, therefore, these entire regions Central Asia, China, Afghanistan want to interact with the Indian Ocean rim or South East Asia it is through Pakistan. If they want to interact with in themselves it has to be through Pakistan. If China and India has rapprochement they can interact through Pakistan but see rout is ten time longer. If India wants to interact with Central Asia it has to be through Pakistan. If India 6 wants energy from Turkmenistan, Iran and Qatar it has to go through Pakistan. So Pakistan is a hub of these entire regions. We have also an ECO with Afghanistan, Central Asian Republic, Iran and Turkey, that is also our link with Europe. So if you join all this Pakistan is the hub of activity in the region and we believe to promote intra-regional cooperation and then go for inter-regional cooperation and also extend this inter-regional cooperation to East Asia. Therefore, we have developed vision East Asia and that has a part of our visit to Australia and New Zeeland. So, therefore, our importance of whatever we are doing coming here. There are a lot of opportunities in Pakistan and a lot of mutual commonalities of interest between Australia and Pakistan on economic front. We are an agrarian society and we want help in agriculture and live stocks. We are the 5th largest milk producing of the world but we don’t produce ant dairy item. We need assistance in dairy products. We have excellent fruits and vegetables but we don’t have food and fruit processing industry. We need assistance in that. We have tremendous natural resources but we didn’t explore that. We are looking forward Australian assistance in mining in that. When you assist us in our industry you insist us indirectly assisting us against terrorism. Because I believer when we talk of poverty alleviation it implies job creation which is only through investment in Pakistan where people will get jobs. Therefore, you will help me in fighting against terrorism.
Thank you very much for patient hearing. I am available for question.
Question: I would like to ask about Guantanamo Bay whether it is time to be closed and particularly I would like to ask about the claims that were made about desecration of Quran in Guantanamo Bay. What sort of reaction that had in your country and how do you think that it has impacted on the perception of the West and particularly American in your country?
Answer: As far as the future of Guantanamo Bay is concerned you should ask this question from Americans. I wouldn’t like to comment on that. Yes there are some very negative perceptions in the Islamic world and in Pakistan of the treatment of the prisoners there. There is an extremely negative perception of fall out of desecration of the Quran because one can’t imagine in civilized societies. Individual who are not sensitive or conscious of other sensitivities. So it had a terrible fall out and I only hope that the perpetrators of this incident are punished. . When we call Muslim society intolerant this is also an extremely intolerant act. One can’t imagine a Muslim desecrating Bible. So any one desecrating Quran had very serious out burst in the whole Muslim world and we have suffered so many causalities.
Question: Do you still believe that Osama Bin Laden is alive and if so why you or the American hasn’t’s been able to get him and secondly Britain announced that there is going to a large number of troupes from Iraq to Afghanistan to continue the fight against terrorism there. Should other countries such as Australia be doing more in Afghanistan?
Answer: First on the issue of Osama Bin Laden. I explain this area when I spoke on the western border of Pakistan with Afghanistan and also the area across are very high mountains, inaccessible and no infrastructure available. We are now making roads and tracks. There was no access for centuries. So it is very easy for a person to hide and not to be seen and also may I say if he has some people who were abating and were sympathizers it will be far more easier. So I presume that I know he is alive and should we say more likely he is alive yes because of our information and interrogations from the Al-Qaeda operatives that we have apprehended. He is alive and may in the border region shifting sides where ever he sees a vacuum. It is not easy to get a person there. In spite of all the operation there are many areas where we are not operating because of the terrain and dilution of forces in space. This space is too much and forces are less. I think we have come to the stage where initially I knew that more troupes are required because there were 13 power centers in Afghanistan cities where war lords reign. I always of opinion that you must occupied those 13 powers to reduce the stature of war lords and enhance the stature of center. However that was not done and we have lesser force but now as the situation goes we are raising the Afghan National Army. There are about 70000 troupes are already raised and more needs to be raised. I think instead of bring more forces from abroad the process of raising Afghan forces should be enhanced. They are the one who should be sent out into the country side and in the out post while ISF and US forces remain in key locations in a combine manner dominating Afghan territory. That is what my belief. Any amount of additional force but I think we should look at an exist strategy more than getting involved in because what I think whatever ever operations are 7 going on I feel that we are on the winning side in Afghanistan as well in Pakistan. So let us continue and raise more Afghan forces.
Question: You have talked about grass root democracy in Pakistan. I was wondering what is you time table now for the restoration of full democracy in the country and any other plan to prosecute Dr Khan fro facilitating the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and Korea?
Answer: People in West take democracy in Pakistan to be meaning only one issue and that is my uniform but even on that issue may I say that two assemblies of Pakistan, the National Assembly and Senate, both have passed a bill with 2/3 majority that I should retain both the offices. Isn’t that democracy that 2/3 people of Pakistan want me to be in uniform and also to be the President of Pakistan. However leave that aside. As far as democracy is concerned we have to see the essence of democracy. Essence of democracy is the freedom of speech and expression. Today print and electronic media in Pakistan is totally independent and may be independent than most of the developed countries and I mean every word what I am saying. You should come there see that how independent they are. They keep talking against me on the TV; opposition is being projected on the TV. Previously, when ever I spoke or any one came to Pakistan they had only one mike only that was PTV but we opened out the channels. It is this man in uniform who did that. There are over a dozen channels today and other dozen are waiting to be licensed. This is freedom of speech and expression. Next issue is the empowerment. I have said already that we have empowered the women and minorities. We really introduced grass root democracy in Pakistan. Isn’t that democracy? So what are we talking on democracy? As far as I am concerned we have introduced a sustainable democracy now which never existed in Pakistan. However if you are just meaning to uniform, yes indeed that is an issue I have been authorized to ware this uniform till 2007 in constitution of Pakistan. I will cross the bridge when we will come to it. Yes it is unfortunately here is a personality that is hero in Pakistan. He is the hero of man in the street because he enhanced our security from the threat that was posed to us but how ever it is most unfortunate that he is proliferators. Now whether he is going to be prosecuted we have already taken an action which is extremely a sensitive issue in Pakistan. We have taken an action against him. He doesn’t move at all. He is not in communication with any one and I can guarantee to this house that he can’t proliferate any more.
Question: On the question of India PM John Howard who is due to visit India this year when you meet him tomorrow you can’t ask him to make any representations on behalf of Pakistan and what do you think what work can you play in easing the tension between the two countries?
Answer: I think there is sensitivity in dealing with all issues bilaterally. This issue of bilateralism was between India and Pakistan relations. We have tried bilateralism in the past but we had been failing but now we are again on the courser of resolution of disputes. This time we seem to be succeeding. So we would like to give it last try bilateralism but how ever with in this certainly as I said that the world and leaders like your Prime Minister can certainly play a role in urging both sides to go for the resolution of the disputes. We must resolve the dispute and this is what I expect from all world leaders to do and contribute towards that to coax both sides to resolve the dispute. Yes indeed I would like to PM to do that and I am certainly being inviting him to Pakistan.
Question: There was a bomb blast in Kashmir that killed four people. I am wondering how this development is affecting the development towards resolving the issue. Do you agree with some of your supporters that resolution of Kashmir can be reached in a year or two?
Answer: What ever incident has taken place in Kashmir but may I say that there is a freedom struggle going on in Kashmir over the 16 years and several organizations have sprung up fighting for independence. No body can control what is happening in Kashmir. I certainly hold a whistle which I can blow and every bullet can be stopped form being fired. So therefore while we are on bilateral track both sides do understand that to expect total peace and harmony in Kashmir is not possible.