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November 2, 1999
Pak wants to settle Kashmir issue first
Raja Asghar in Islamabad
Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf has said he wanted to settle all of his country's disputes with India, but warned New Delhi that ''hostility will be met with hostility''.
He told his first news conference after the October 12 army coup that toppled prime minister Nawaz Sharief that there would be no change from the foreign policy pursued by the ousted government. ''We want peaceful coexistence with all,'' he said.
But he said that while seeking co-existence with India, his administration would not allow a sidelining of the Indo-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir.
''In this we would like to resolve all our differences, and when I say all our differences, I mean the core issue of Kashmir first of all or simultaneously at least,'' he said.
''But if there is any design to address issues other than Kashmir and sidelining the Kashmir issue, I am not a part of it. So the Kashmir issue has to be addressed and with that all other issues can be addressed.
''If this is the attitude we see from across the border I can assure you that I will be going far ahead of them in this area,'' Musharraf said.
But he told a questioner that if India chose to follow a policy of hostility, Pakistan would do the same.
''Hostility will be met with hostility and peace will be met with peace. I will ensure the honour and dignity of this country. Nobody threatens us without getting a threatening response, anyone.''
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