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September 7, 2000
Pak ready for no-war pact with India: Musharraf
Amberish K Diwanji at the United Nations
Pakistan's chief executive, General Pervez Musharraf, called on the United Nations to resolve the Kashmir dispute and allow the people of Kashmir the right of self-determination.
In his address to the General Assembly's Millennium Summit on Wednesday, September 6, 2000, he offered to enter into a no-war pact with India, besides a reduction of forces and the denuclearisation of South Asia.
Calling for self-determination in the state, Musharraf compared Kashmir to Palestine and also to East Timor. He said whenever efforts to resolve a dispute departed from the United Nations charter, the dispute only worsened and the two best examples were Palestine and Kashmir, but with a difference.
"While the international community and this world body (the UN) are seriously engaged in finding a solution to the Palestine issue, Kashmir cries for justice even after 52 years," he claimed.
The chief executive, who seized power last October, said Pakistan is located in the world's most volatile and economically deprived region, and the only reason for this state of affair was because Kashmir remains deprived of justice.
Musharraf said Kashmir, the root cause of tension in South Asia, has to be resolved. "Ten million people cannot be denied their right to self-determination," he said.
The general further said in his speech that over the past 10 years, over 70,000 Kashmiris have been killed by 700,000 troops and which had only hardened the resolve of the Kashmiris to see that the pledges made by the UN are honoured.
Comparing Kashmir to East Timor, he asked, "If the people of East Timor could be given their freedom, why not the people of Kashmir?"
Musharraf, who was dressed in a black sherwani, further added that the UN charter allowed the UN to act even if one the parties to a dispute was intransigent and rejected the use of peaceful means.
"The problem," he said, "is not in the UN charter but in the lack of political will. Until we produce that will (to resolve the Kashmir dispute), all talk of crisis prevention and dispute resolution will ring hollow," he said.
Musharraf said Pakistan stood for peace and was prepared to take bold initiatives to change the status quo through a dialogue with India at any level, at any time and anywhere.
He also announced that Islamabad desired a no-war pact, and was ready for a mutual reduction of forces. It also sought a South Asia free from all nuclear weapons.
Turning to the issue of democracy, he said Pakistan was conscious of the international concern for it. He said the people of Pakistan never lost their faith in democracy but that autocracy in the garb of democracy led to the collapse of institutions.
"We stand sincerely committed to rebuilding and strengthening the institution of state to give the country genuine and durable democracy," he declared.
Musharraf pointed out that corruption had damaged democracy. "Paradoxically, we hear long lectures on democracy from countries that have laws that actually encourage corruption and facilities for the concealment of illicit wealth in secret accounts. Such transfers do not make them rich but the poor certainly become poorer," he said.
He added that the UN should call for banning the transfers of illgotten wealth and demand the co-operation in tracing and repatriating such funds.
Musharraf further said the best assurance for consolidating global peace lies in developing all regions and all peoples. He said the current spate of globalisation had raised hopes but caused disappointment since it had made the rich, richer, and the poor, poorer.
He said this imbalance will increase the burden of debt, which in turn would affect the rich states of the world.
"The developing world needs the understanding and cooperation of creditor states and international financial institutions to dig out from under the huge mountain of debt," he stated.
rediff.com has assigned Associate Editors Amberish K Diwanji and Savera R Someshwar to cover Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to the United States. Don't forget to log into rediff.com for news of this historic visit as it happens!
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