Opposition parties, led by the Congress, Wednesday extended "constructive support'' to the government's invitation to Pakistan chief executive General Pervez Musharraf for talks to solve the Kashmir issue, but asked it to explain why the ceasefire had been abruptly ended.
Reacting to the government invitation to Musharraf, Congress chief spokesman S Jaipal Reddy told rediff.com that "our party president has been informed of this development. We have always extended constructive support (to the government) on Kashmir and we are supportive of the invitation to General Musharraf."
Reddy, however, said the government should explain to the people the intricacies which led to its sudden decision not to extend the ceasefire.
"It must share with the Opposition, especially the principal Opposition party, why it suddenly decided not to extend the ceasefire and give a plausible explanation to the people," he pointed out.
He said the Congress had always favoured resumption of dialogue with Pakistan so that the Kashmir issue could be amicably solved.
However, the government had "not taken the Opposition into confidence on
the peace process in J&K and it must now do so without any further delay," the Congress spokesman pointed out.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Rupchand Pal, while welcoming the government's invitation to the Pakistan chief executive for talks on Kashmir underscored that "while this can be a good beginning, we will have to wait and watch. We only hope that the government does not persist in its secretive ways on matters pertaining to Kashmir. We hope they (the government) will take the Opposition parties into confidence."
Vishwa Hindu Parishad president Vishnu Hari Dalmiya contended that "wisdom has at last dawned on the government, which has finally decided that the extension of the ceasefire would only cost more lives among the people (in Kashmir), including those of the security forces."
Welcoming the government decision not to extend the ceasefire in J&K beyond May 31, Dalmiya pointed out that the VHP had been maintaining that the government adopt a tough posture towards "Pak-sponsored
militants, but the Vajpayee government had been entertaining all manner of
people, including hardcore terrorists."
Maintaining that "it is better late than never," the VHP chief said henceforth, the
Vajpayee government should initiate only measures that should not
backfire because of "the duplicity of Pakistan and anti-national elements".
Pakistan High Commissioner Ashraf Jahangir Qazi described as "constructive'' the government's invitation to Mushrraf for sorting out the "core issue of Kashmir".
Qazi pointed out that it was to be seen how soon the Indian government sent
the formal invitation to the Pakistan chief executive "and only after that further comments can be made."
The Complete Coverage: The Ceasefire in J&K
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