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'Kashmir solution can't be religion-based'
K J M Varma in Islamabad |
May 20, 2005 23:19 IST
Acknowledging India's ''sensitivities'', Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Friday night said that a solution to the Kashmir issue cannot be on religious basis.
"We do understand India's sensitivities of their secular credentials," the Pakistani leader said.
He said a solution to the vexed issue cannot be on ''any religious basis''
He was addressing parliamentarians and journalists from India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries in Islamabad.
''To identify a region, allow maximum self governance to people, demilitarise the region and take some action to make the border irrelevant,'' he said.
The Pakistani leader had in November last spoken about demilitarising regions but this is probably the first time he has ruled out a solution of Kashmir on the basis of religion.
Musharraf said his ideas to start with may sound "confusing" but he was very confident that a solution can be reached on Kashmir that satisfied India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir.
He said a solution has to be found from within India's stand (no re-drawing of borders), Pakistan's stand (the Line of Control cannot be a permanent border and boundaries becoming irrelevant).
"They are conflicting statements. The solution exactly lies in a compromise. In fact, it lies in the third statement, that is boundaries becoming irrelevant," he said.
Musharraf said history offered only "fleeting moments" to resolve complex issues like Kashmir and the prevailing international atmosphere as well as improved relations between the two countries offered "ideal opportunity" for him and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resolve it.
"It must be during the tenure of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and myself," he said while sounding reluctant to specify a timeframe, "knowing the Indian sensitivities" over it.
"I would be inclined to any timeframe. However, in view of sensitivities on your (Indian) side, may I say that practically and realistically one can't very strictly lay down in months and days. May be that is very difficult."