ISLAMABAD Oct 22 (NNI):
President General Pervez Musharraf has emphasized the need for early
restoration of peace in Afghanistan, preservation of its integrity and
establishment of a broad-based government without foreign interference.
In an interview on Pakistan-state run television Monday night, General
Musharraf said the broad-based government should represent all Afghan
groups but no solution should be imposed on Afghanistan.
The President stressed that instead of any outside interference, Afghans
should be encouraged to find a political solution of the crisis. He said
Pakistan wants a friendly Government in Kabul.
Referring to efforts aimed at convening of a Convention he said it augurs
well military, political and reconstruction issues should be pursued on
parallel basis. About Northern Alliance, he said, it being a minority
group cannot rule the entire Afghanistan which has traditionally been
governed by Pushtoons.
The President urged the United Nations and the developed countries to play
an active role in reconstruction of Afghanistan otherwise the situation
could led to anarchy as it happened after withdrawal of the Soviet Union.
General Pervez Musharraf expressed hope that the on-going operation in
Afghanistan would finish by Ramzanul Mubarak as its continuation during
the holy month would have negative impact in the Islamic world. He said
the operation should be short and targeted.
The President reiterated that the decision to support the international
coalition against terrorism was taken in the best interest of the country.
He said it would take some time for the economic benefits of the decision
to materialize. He, however, was confident that with the passage of time,
country's economy would improve and it would be able to get rid of the
Replying to questions the President said the debt issue has three
dimensions. Pakistan owes 12 billion dollars as bilateral debt. This
includes three billions of the United States, five billion dollars Japan,
and one billion European Union beside some debt of South Korea. This debt
can be written off and efforts are being made for the purpose. He said
debt taken from the international financial institutions can be waived off
but a strategy is being formulated ;for their rescheduling. He said this
issue will take some time but expressed the confidence that we will
succeed in our efforts in this regard.
The President pointed out that steps have also been taken for increasing
exports. The European Union has increased our textile quota by 15 percent
which would lead to an increase of 500 to 700 million dollars in our
exports. He said this arrangement would not only help our industry but
also create more jobs.
He said efforts are being made to enter into similar arrangements with the
United States and Japan as well. The President said he has taken up
economic issues with the the Japanese Prime Minister, the US Secretary of
State and leaders of some Gulf states. German Chancellor is also visiting
Pakistan and talks will be held on aid and trade.
Calls for Indo-Pak dialogue: General Musharraf called upon India that
instead of hurling threats it should adopt the course of negotiations.
The President reminded those who are resorting to agitation that India
would have reaped benefits of any wrong decision by Pakistan.
He said as a result of the government's decision to align with the
international coalition, country's strategic interests are now safe.
Referring to statements of the Indian Ministers for Defence and Interior,
he said threats would harm and not benefit India.
General Pervez Musharraf said there has been some movement by the Indian
army and air force but held our an assurance that Pakistan armed forces
are fully prepared to defend the motherland. He said Indian leaders should
not entertain any misgiving and any attempt at misadventure would be
retaliated with full force. He said Pakistan would not allow India to take
advantage of the current situation.
The President noted with satisfaction that the entire world and the Union
Nations have recognized Kashmir as a dispute and stressed the need for a
The President said he has made it clear to the world leaders that what is
happening in Kashmir is freedom struggle and has nothing to do with the
terrorism. He demanded that international human rights organisations
should be allowed to visit Occupied Kashmir to see for themselves how
seventy thousand Kashmiris have been martyred. He said it is indigenous
freedom struggle of Kashmiri people. He said Indian leadership should
engage into negotiations with Pakistan for solution of this longstanding
The President said he had told religious and political leaders during
meetings with them that the decision of the government is not against
The President emphasized that the state terrorism must be defined. He said
he has told world leaders including British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair
and the US Secretary of State that it was unfortunate that all the
international disputes including Kashmir, Palestine, Bosnia, Kosovo and
Chechneya are considered as issues of Muslims. There is a need to project
them in their true perspective. He said he stressed the need for
resolution of Palestine and Kashmir problems.
Elections as per schedule: General Musharraf said elections to the
provincial and national assemblies would be held in October next year and
power would be transferred to the majority party.
He said parliamentary elections will be held as per road map given by his
Government. "Pakistan has been bestowed with all resources and there is
need to address our internal weaknesses". He said people demand peace and
economic development. He was confident that Pakistan's future was quite
bright and he was determined to steer the country on the road to progress
Replying to a question the President said there was no need for holding of
referendum on the current situation. He pointed out that he held meetings
with politicians, intellectuals, journalists and tribal elders and they
supported the position taken by the government.
The President categorically stated that no operation against Afghanistan
has been carried out from Pakistan. He said attacks on Afghanistan are
being conducted from the Gulf or Central Asian states.
The President did not agree the apprehensions being expressed by some
leaders about possibility of permanent presence of the United States in
the region. He said some extremists groups are opposed to the US presence
in the region and the atmosphere is not conducive for the United States
for the purpose. He said Americans would not permanently stay here and I