Posted by: Administrator | 12 February, 2007

President in BBC Hindi and Urdu special program

The full transcript of the joint BBC Hindi and Urdu special programme, Aapki Baat BBC Ke Saath, with the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf on the subject: Can India and Pakistan defeat militancy without being friends? 

1 December 2003. 

BBC: The process of dialogue between India and Pakistan seems to be moving forward once again, but can you say that Agra would not be repeated this time?

Musharraf: I hope so and everyone should hope in the same direction, that the process of dialogue moves forward.

 
 
 
  You are talking about Kargil and Kashmir, but you have forgotten about Siachen, we will have to put all this, including Siachen also behind now.  
 
 
 

But I would like to tell all of you that there should be no room for complacency. I think some people are thinking that everything has been achieved and there is peace all around, but it is not so. Remember it is the beginning of an end.

We would have to be extremely careful, and with sincerity we should move forward in this process of dialogue.

BBC listener from Canada : Today both India and Pakistan are facing numerous problems. Why don’t both countries sit down and sort out the problems, instead of making themselves a laughing stock before the Western world. Till when would they continue fighting over Kargil and Kashmir?

Musharraf : Absolutely, you are talking about Kargil and Kashmir, but you have forgotten about Siachen, we will have to put all this, including Siachen also behind now. I am confident that if we have the sincerity, then we can move forward leaving all this behind.

If there has been bitterness in the past, it is better to forget it and move ahead. Let us think forward. Let me also say that it has been said widely from the Indian side that, I say something else and do something else. This is wrong, I do not believe in double standards.

This is a misunderstanding on their part. See,  I am a soldier and I do what I say. I believe in a straight talk and straight-forward deeds.

 
 
 
  I do not believe in double standards. I am a soldier and I do what I say. I believe in a straight talk and straight-forward deeds. When I make a verbal commitment, it is final.  
 
 
 

Instead, look at your own media and your own leaders. Please remember, when I make a verbal commitment, it is final .

BBC listener from Islamabad : Who has the final authority on Kashmir, President or the National Assembly?

Musharraf : This would definitely be the decision of the National Assembly, because it represents the aspirations of the public. So whatever be the decision on Kashmir, it would be of the Assembly, but the President can contribute, there should be no doubt about it.

I am surprised, why such questions come, since the President is also a part of Pakistan. The President can also have an opinion, he cannot sit with his mouth stitched. Therefore the opinion of the President has to be there, and the opinion of the public is through the National Assembly.

BBC Listener from Larkana (Sindh) : The bus from Wagah border has been started, and now the airlink restoration date has also been announced. But what is the difficulty in opening the Khokhrapar border?

Musharraf : There is no problem. By the grace of Allah, we would be starting that also. We thought that the number of those coming and going via Wagah is quite large. I am fully aware that the transport link through Khokhrapar is required, but the rail track there is in a bad condition, it requires repairs. However there is no major problem and I accept your demand.

BBC listener from Srinagar: If the Great Wall of Berlin could be demolished, why don’t India and Pakistan learn anything from history ? Why are not Kashmiris from both sides of the border allowed to meet each other, what are you doing to make us meet ? What about the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus ?

Musharraf : You are right.

 
 
 
  We have agreed that the bus between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad would run. We are trying to reduce the travel restrictions for Kashmiris,  
 
 
 

I am making all possible efforts in this direction, and my best wishes are with you. I want that your problems should be minimised.

We are sitting comfortably, and it is the Kashmiris, who are facing hardships. You are speaking from Srinagar, and I am fully aware of the problems.

So far as the bus is concerned, we have agreed that the bus between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad would run. We are trying to reduce the travel restrictions for Kashmiris, so that you don’t have any trouble in travelling. We have approved this, and by the grace of Allah, as the process of dialogue moves ahead, we will see how to take this forward to finally reach a solution for peace in Kashmir. It is our endeavour, that this issue be solved.

BBC: India says Pakistan promotes cross border terrorism in Kashmir, some of the ministers of the present government in Pakistan have said that their country provides moral support to the struggle of Kashmiris. Today you are yourself saying it is an indigenous struggle. How would the process of dialogue move forward in such a scenario?

Musharraf: See, the point of view has to be futuristic. We have to look for a solution, which is for the future.

 
 
 
  We have to look for a solution, which is for the future. India is still talking about the past and the present. I am saying let us move forward, let us sit and talk and look towards the future.  
 
 
 

India is still talking about the past and the present. I am saying let us move forward, let us sit and talk and look towards the future. This is a four step process: first of all let us talk, then let us accept that Kashmir is a problem which as to be solved and then have a composite dialogue which includes Kashmir.

The third step is that the solutions which are unacceptable to India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris, could be left apart.

Finally, the solutions which are acceptable —  in fact ten to twelve people have already given some solutions, all of us can select a mutually acceptable one. This would be a win-win situation for India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris. This is a step-by-step way of solving the problem.

Coming back to your question, that India and Pakistan have a widely different point of view, I say for future there should not be differences, India should understand and so should we.

BBC: Do you think that after September 11, 2001, there is no future of the armed struggles going on in Kashmir and other parts of the world?

Musharraf : See what is happening in Kashmir is an indigenous struggle. I think that it would end only when the process of dialogue starts and we start heading towards a solution. The process has not even started at the moment between India and Pakistan. Just confidence building has started. Let us sit and talk, but the problem is India does not talk on Kashmir, and that is why both of us are stuck where we were long ago.

 
 
 
  I say what is happening in Kashmir is an indigenous struggle, they should accept this that whatever is happening there is an internal creation. Take the peace process forward, then only can things be rectified.  
 
 
 

What is required is that the talks begin, which include Kashmir also. Then whatever is happening there would slow down and finally come to an end.

BBC: The Prime Minister of Pakistan recently announced a unilateral ceasefire, which as been accepted by India. I would draw your attention to what the Indian Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani has said today (1st Dec).

Advani clip: “Cross-border terrorism has not stopped. Even though the cease-fire is not meant to end cross-border terrorism, we have accepted it. However, the favourable reaction [to the cease-fire] should not in any way make us complacent, because terrorism is still continuing. A lot of infiltration has already taken place and the infiltrators now sitting inside India do not hesitate to kill innocent people.”

BBC: Gen Musharraf what do you have to say on this? What is your reaction?

Musharraf: Well, they start saying anything and keep on changing their statements frequently.

The armed forces fire on the Line of Control (LoC), since there is a ceasefire now, therefore no firing is taking place. We had proposed this three months before, these people rejected it at that time. Now they have accepted it, they say something at one point and something else at the other time.

Let me tell you another thing, they used to say earlier that infiltration takes place under the cover of firing by Pakistani forces.

 
 
 
  India has given a list of 20, I can send a list of 50. See there is no shortage of lists. I was given a list, which includes the name of Advani sahib. I can send that list to India, but till where would we keep on fighting on such lists?  
 
 
 

Now when there is no firing on the LoC, so how is the infiltration taking place now? [Winter has set in, the situation on the ground is different — Ed, outlookindia.com]

They had already been levelling such allegations. Even if two birds fly, they would say infiltration is taking place. I say what is happening in Kashmir is an indigenous struggle, they should accept this that whatever is happening there is an internal creation. Take the peace process forward, then only can things be rectified.

BBC listener from Germany: There is a list of 20 terrorists wanted by India, who are also on the most wanted list of INTERPOL. India say they are in Pakistan, a list has also been given. What do you say ?

Musharraf : India has given a list of 20, I can send a list of 50. See there is no shortage of lists. I was given a list, which includes the name of Advani sahib. I can send that list to India, but till where would we keep on fighting on such lists ?

This is no solution, let us think towards the future. If you have any misunderstanding, then let me tell you that militant acts are not taking place there only. The bomb explosions which are taking place in Pakistan, in many cases we are certain that the Indian intelligence agencies are behind these blasts!

The list given by them has no evidence behind it, we would take action only on the basis of evidence.

BBC: You have said Indian leaders have been changing their statements frequently, but on Saturday the President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai said Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has been spotted in Pakistan.

 
 
 
  Karzai said he was reading Namaz in a mosque, if Karzai knows so much sitting in Kabul, why does he not tell us ? He should know that we are against terrorism, and we have achieved maximum success against terrorism.  
 
 
 

So are all your neighbours lying ?

Musharraf : Karzai sahib gave this statement sitting comfortably in Kabul. If he knew where Mullah Omar is, why did he not pass the information to us, so that we could have nabbed him.

Karzai said he was reading Namaz in a mosque, if Karzai knows so much sitting in Kabul, why does he not tell us ? He should know that we are against terrorism, and we have achieved maximum success against terrorism. No country can claim to have done more against terrorism than Pakistan! How can someone say that we are doing nothing.

As a President it is extremely annoying for me – let him tell us what has his government done against the terrorists, that he is accusing us? On our part we have nabbed and killed 600 terrorists. No one should talk in this way, let us all worry about our countries

BBC listener from Belgaum Karnataka : Many years back, the Pakistan government had conferred the honour of NISHAN-E-PAKISTAN to the former Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai. Do you think that Pakistan would like to give it to someone in India today. Is anyone worthy of it in your view ?

Musharraf : I would like to nominate Vajpayee sahib for it if we move forward towards solving the Kashmir issue. If there is an achievement, which is significant from Pakistan’s point of view, we would like to honour anyone.

 
 
 
  I would like to nominate Vajpayee sahib for Nishan-e-Pakistan if we move forward towards solving the Kashmir issue.  
 
 
 

BBC: You have been saying Kashmir is an indigenous struggle, India does not accept this. How would both the countries move forward for a dialogue ? What is the solution ?

Musharraf : What do you mean by what is the solution? There is no solution because the struggle is going on.

How would the struggle end, you are in fact talking the opposite, I say when you move towards the solution, then would the struggle end. It is not as if the solution is not taking place because of the struggle, see this is a political issue and we would do our best to find a political solution. The solution would have to be one, which is acceptable to India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris. Once such a solution is found, the struggle would end.

BBC listener from Rajasthan : Mr President, you have been talking about the Kashmir struggle, and the government of Pakistan has been saying it provides moral support to Kashmiri struggle. Why don’t you remove Pakistani forces from Pakistan administered Kashmir, how serious are you about it?

Musharraf : I have not heard such a question in my life .India has seven lakh soldiers in Kashmir, whereas Pakistan has only fifty thousand. Ask the Indian government, if they are ready to remove their seven lakh forces, we will remove our fifty thousand tomorrow .

BBC: Some time back, you had said that any leader of Pakistan who tries to give up Kashmir, cannot remain the leader of the country. India is not ready to give up Kashmir, and Pakistan is not ready to accept anything less than Kashmir. Why are politicians on both sides using this as a political issue to save their chairs ?

Musharraf : This is a wrong perception, please look at the reality. Kashmiris are a part of the society of Pakistan. That is there in Azad Kashmir, and in our entire country. It is their feelings, emotions and expectations.

My joint chief of staff is a Kashmiri. The Information Minister is a Kashmiri, and there are many Kashmiris around me. Kashmir issue has been going on since 50 years, how can we all of a sudden say that we can forget about this?

This is totally unrealistic and dangerous and this cannot be done. A militant action could take place against any government in Pakistan. More than that, there are some principles of a government, there are national interests of Pakistan and there can be no compromise with the national interests.

If any leader does give up the issue, I would say he will be a very weak leader. I think that no nation in the world, would compromise with the national interest. Also remember the UN resolutions of 1948.

BBC : What are your expectations from the SAARC summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad early next year ?

Musharraf : We have high expectations from the summit. First of all I am very hopeful of the summit taking place as scheduled. Earlier, it was uncertain whether the summit would take place at all. Next, we hope that Prime Minister Vajpayee sahib will participate.

I also hope that Vajpayee sahib will meet with all the leaders here. I am also hopeful that maybe talks take place, and whatever talks take place, they would be effective, useful and point to a good future.

BBC: Are you meeting Prime Minister Vajpayee ?

Musharraf : Yes, if he wants to meet me, I will meet him. See, I am saying he should not get an impression, that since I have been saying this time and again, I am desperate to meet him. Let me tell you, I am living here and sitting comfortably, there is no problem. I would meet him only if he wants.

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