'Pakistan won't forget or forgive Musharraf for treason'
Former prime minister of Pakistan and Pakistan Muslim League-(N) Nawaz Sharif, in an interview to CNN-IBN, talks of the importance to resolve the Kashmir issue peacefully while promising to reactivate back channel negotiations between India and Pakistan.
Transcript of the interview
Prime ministerial ambition
I'm not seeking to be the prime minister once again. That is not my sole purpose. I'm worried about my country. My country is suffering very badly. I think we have to get rid of our country the ills it's confronted with. This is what I'm looking forward to.
General Musharraf's trial
The courts will have to decide whether the Article 6 applies to him or not. I've no personal vendetta to settle against the man. I'm not a man to seek revenge. He has taken strong actions against me. I forgive him for that. He has imposed martial law twice in Pakistan; first in 1999 and again in 2007. He subverted the constitution. He fired the judges. He dissolved the Parliament unconstitutionally. I think he has to pay for that. That is (treason) not a crime the nation wants to forget or forgive him. Then it will be for the judiciary and the judges to try and decide.
The Army backing Musharraf
The Army understands that the Army must detach itself from a man who is guilty of abrogating the constitution. The Army will perhaps not be supporting such a person.
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Image: Nawaz Sharif (C), leader of political party Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N), addresses an election rally in Islamabad
Photographs: Mian Khursheed/Reuters
'We have to start from where we were interrupted in 1999'
Relationship with India and the Lahore declaration
I've very fond memories of that day, the visit of Prime Minister Vajpayeeji. He is a wonderful person. I'm told he is sick these days. I wish him good health. I hope I will be able to see him some day in Delhi personally. That was a new chapter in the history of both the countries.
We have to (open a new chapter). There is no other way out. We have shared history and culture. The language is same, we speak Urdu, you speak Hindi.....I don't know what are we fighting for. We have issues of course which need to be resolved. I can quote you many examples where rival countries, people opposed to each other. If they can, so can we.
We have to start from where we were interrupted in 1999. Vajpayee saab came across, we signed that historic Lahore accord. He had said very good things about Pakistan which are still fresh in my memory. I also reciprocated. I think those times must come back again. He privately said, 'Nawaz saab why can't we declare 1999 as the year of resolution of all problems between India and Pakistan'. He has said (a) very good thing.
If we get a chance to rule this country, this will be our main priorities.
Cross border terrorism
We don't want our territory to be used for terrorist activities. These elements are deliberately spoiling the relationship. I think both countries should take these steps. When anything happens here we used to turn our suspicion on India. Anything happening there, fingers are pointed towards Pakistan. So we have to stop it.
LeT and Hafiz Saeed
Many of these organisations have already been banned. If I become prime minister I will make sure that Pakistani soil is never used for any such design against India. We must not allow such speeches to be made against India by anybody including Hafeez saab.
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Image: Former Pakistan prime ministers Nawaz Sharif (L) and his Indian counterpart Atal Behari Vajpayee (R) wave to a crowd at Wagah border near Lahore
'The Kargil inquiry will be an open secret'
ISI involvement in 26/11
If you look at my interviews immediately after Bombay killings, I was very clear in saying that let there be the joint commission of investigation. Let both the countries sit together, exchange the evidence what they have. Let the investigation be conducted jointly and pursue the matter jointly. I think no progress was made towards this suggestion. I will certainly take up this matter.
(Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist) David Headley's statement on ISI involvement in 26/11
If he has given such a statement that needs to be verified first. I have read the statements those appeared in the press sometime ago. Later there was nothing on that issue. But how far these statements are true, we have to see. I think such issues (need) to be investigated carefully including what happened in Kargil.
The entire Army of Pakistan was kept in (the) dark. No core commander had any knowledge that this Kargil operation is going on. Even the chiefs of the armed forces complained about why they were not informed. I think the commission will have to bring out the full truth. This will be an open secret.
Did you ask this question to our federal government, which is in power for the last five years. I think someone needs to ask the federal government that why this inordinate delay has taken place? We will get in touch with our counterparts in India. We will listen to their grievances, complaints. I'm talking of our party, as the Opposition party we were never taken into confidence. This question was never allowed to come in the parliament.
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Image: A photograph issued by the Indian Air Force shows regions occupied by Pakistan-backed infiltrators in the Kargil sector on May 31, 1999.
'Kashmir issue needs to be resolved peacefully'
Founding member of LeT, Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi enjoying special status in jail
We will look into this. We will hold an enquiry into it. We will also have discussion with our Indian counterpart on this (to share with them).
It's a very important issue. This issue needs to be resolved peacefully. Resolved to the satisfaction of not only both the countries but also to the satisfaction of the people of Kashmir.
We don't take it as an obstacle. Pakistan is going ahead on trade front and other ties we have. India should also pay attention to Kashmir issue, get this problem away and solve it to the satisfaction of all the three parties. If that can be done what is the harm?
We should be looking forward to exploring such an avenue.
It reminds me, I and Vajpayeeji had set up a back channel. I think that must be reactivated. That back channel was very useful. If we reestablish the back channel I think it will come out with different propositions, which they will put forward to their respective PMs. We will examine everything.
Putting Kashmir issue on backburner
That we are already doing. Let not such issues be put on backburner for indefinite period. Both the countries feel the urge to solve this very important problem.
We have our stated positions since last 60-65years. India says Kashmir is our 'atoot ang'. In 1999 the Lahore declaration was a different atmosphere. It said both the countries agree to solve the Kashmir issue by sitting across the table, peacefully. We need to begin from where we had left in 1999.
Reciprocating the same relationship with Manmohan Singh as he used to have with Vajpayee
Certainly, it will be a pleasure and personal privilege to visit India. It would certainly be a privilege to see Manmohan Singh visiting Pakistan. Pakistan is the place he was born. So we will be very happy to exchange these feelings. Through this interview and your channel I would extent very warm feelings and good wishes to the people of India.
Message to India
I want to say to the people of India that we could be very good friends. My birthplace is in India, I've twice been there. A lot of emotional involvement. Once we hold our hands and throw out all enmity and hatred from our hearts, and be determined to solve all our problems peacefully, this will change the fate of this sub-continent.
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com