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Musharraf calls for ceasefire along LoC

August 12, 2003 16:33 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday called for ceasefire along the Indo-Pak border in Kashmir and the Line of Control.

"Unilaterally ceasefire has two connotations. Ceasefire on the LoC where we are firing at each other. Daily there are casualties on both sides. There ought to be a ceasefire on the LoC," Musharraf told the visiting Indian delegation of journalists and parliamentarians at a tea hosted by him.

Musharraf said it was a possibility in its totality. It was an immediate possibility because the two militaries were firing. "We stop from this side and they can stop from their side. This can take place tomorrow morning by giving orders today."

"The other ceasefire is ceasefire in what we call Indian-held Kashmir and what you (India) call differently... the totality is there only if there is a bilateral reciprocal formula. It has to be worked out and then it becomes a possibility," he said.

Claiming that there were 600,000 Indian troops in Kashmir where 'atrocities' were being committed, Musharraf sought reduction of forces in the state following which 'one could attempt to facilitate and encourage ceasefire inside Kashmir'.

"Reciprocity should be in the form of stopping of atrocities, reduction of forces, allowing political activities and travel freely... these are elements of reciprocity and confidence building," he said.

Asked about India's concerns on Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism, he said. "There is no government sponsoring of cross-border terrorism on the LoC or across the LoC. Whatever is happening in Kashmir is freedom struggle."

At the same time, he said, ceasefire cannot be unilateral as it is not feasible or practical.

On the possibility of his talking with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Pakistani general said, "I have no ego problem. I can pick up the telephone to him. Prime Minister Jamali did ring up Vajpayee. Yes, if it serves the purpose I can think of it."

He, however, felt that there should be no 'humiliation' if he called up and there was no response from the Indian leader.

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