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Musharraf calls for broad-based Afghan govt (Full Story)

 Calls for Indo-Pak dialogue

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 debt.
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 negotiated settlement.
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 problem.
The President said he had told religious and political leaders during meetings with them that the decision of the government is not against Islam.
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 and prosperity.
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 guarantee that.ŚNNI

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