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Vajpayee slams Musharraf for raking up Kashmir at NAM
M Shakeel Ahmed in Kuala Lumpur |
February 24, 2003 16:58 IST
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Monday hit back strongly at Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for raking up the Kashmir issue at the Non Aligned Movement summit saying this camouflages Islamabad's designs on the valley, an integral part of India.
Taking the floor shortly after Musharraf violated the NAM charter barring raising bilateral issues and speaking about the need for NAM to recognise the "right to self-determination" in Kashmir,
Vajpayee said, "There can be no double standards or confusion between terrorism and freedom struggles."
Deviating from his prepared text to reply to Musharraf, he asked the 116-nation grouping to take a clear and unequivocal stand on the scourge of terrorism.
"Musharraf has justified terrorism against India by talking of root causes. His strange logic masks Pakistan's territorial designs on an integral part of India... he (Musharraf) justifies terrorism against India by talking of root causes," Vajpayee said. "Does he (Musharraf) go into the root causes of sectarian terrorism in his country? Or does he take stern action against
perpetrators of that terrorism?"
Vajpayee also ruled out a meeting between him and Musharraf on the sidelines of the summit. Lashing out at Musharraf forn describing the people of Kashmir as "oppressed", the prime minister said, "These same (Kashmiri) people very recently cast their ballots in an election universally recognised as free and fair. They defied the bullets of the terrorists, aided and abetted by Pakistan."
Vajpayee said those very terrorists assassinated candidates and political activists in the elections and killed women and children because they refused to provide them food and shelter.
"These terrorists continue to perpetrate violence against innocent civilians every day. Yet General Musharraf talks of an international humanitarian order!" the prime minister said.
Pointing out that there can be no justification for terrorism, he said, "No political, ideological, religious or ethnic grounds can justify the shedding of the blood of innocent people."
He urged the members to conclude the negotiations at the United Nations on India's proposal for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
"It is a matter of the greatest shame to all of us that while terrorism continues to claim its victims with one brutal act after another, we cannot conclude an international agreement because we cannot find a universally acceptable definition of terrorism!" the prime minister said.