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Musharraf claims Kashmir was near resolution in his time

Rezaul H Laskar/ PTI  |  Islamabad 

Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has claimed that the Kashmir problem was near resolution during his regime and dismissed accusations that the powerful army did not want the settlement of the issue.     

Musharraf claimed he and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had, during the 2001 Agra summit, even agreed to the draft of a joint declaration under which all issues, including Kashmir, could have been resolved.     

"But the Indian leadership changed their mind at the last minute and did not support the joint declaration, saying that the Cabinet had not approved it," Musharraf said in an interview to 'Dunya News' channel.      

Accusations that the army does not want a resolution to Kashmir issue are "vicious propaganda" and the need for the army would remain even if the problem is resolved, he said.      

Musharraf said he held talks with all stakeholders in the Kashmir issue, including the Hurriyat Conference and the leadership of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, for the resolution of the issue "but no one could guide me in the right direction."      

He also said he had convinced the entire leadership in Kashmir, except hardliner Ali Shah Gilani, about his four-point formula which envisaged de-militarisation and joint control of the region.

Musharraf said Pakistan, India and the Kashmiris must achieve consensus for a durable and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue, and all three parties would have to adopt an approach of give and take to settle the matter.      

He again rejected former premier Nawaz Sharif's stand that he was kept in the dark on the Pakistan Army's plan to occupy strategic heights in the Kargil sector, describing it as "an absolute lie."      

The former military ruler said he had not asked Sharif to visit the US and meet the then President Bill Clinton to bail out the Pakistan Army.     

Musharraf said the Defence Committee of the Cabinet met two days before Sharif left for the US, and that he had given Sharif a detailed presentation on the Kargil situation.      

Musharraf said Sharif had repeatedly asked him whether Pakistan should withdraw its forces from Kargil.     

"I said I have informed you about the military situation but the withdrawal of forces is a political decision which has to be taken by the political leadership," he claimed to have told Sharif.      

He said he was ready to stand trial if a case was filed against him regarding the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in a military operation or his decision to impose emergency in November 2007.

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First Published: Sat, June 27 2009. 13:59 IST