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Musharraf 'satisfied' with progress on Sir Creek, Siachen
K J M Varma in Islamabad
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January 17, 2007 01:42 IST

Expressing 'satisfaction' over the progress of talks with India on bilateral issues including Siachen and Sir Creek, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said on Tuesday that resolution of Kashmir was essential for achieving durable peace in the region.

Musharraf apprised his top army commanders of his talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who visited
Pakistan on January 13-14, and expressed 'optimism and hope' over the Indo-Pak peace process and 'satisfaction on the progress over Sir Creek and Siachen issues'.

He was addressing the 100th Corps Commanders at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi, the first opportunity for the top brass of the Pakistani Army to review the outcome of talks held during Mukherjee's visit.

The external affairs minister met Musharraf before holding talks with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and later his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid M Kasuri.

Pakistan has given to India a 'detailed and comprehensive package' to resolve the conflict over Siachen, Kasuri told
reporters. "It is for India to seriously consider this matter," he said.

The navies of the two countries began a joint survey on Monday of Sir Creek, a 65 mile-long marshy strip off the
Gujarat coast, to determine the disputed maritime zone.

Kasuri, after his talks with Mukherjee, said Pakistan was willing to meet India's concerns over indicating troops positions. India, however, wants the authentication of the positions held by troops of both the countries. 

"If the intention was to find where the troops were, we could find ways and means to meet India's concerns," Kasuri

In his meeting with the commanders, Musharraf dwelt on the international and regional environment and its relevance
to the security of Pakistan and briefed them about the ongoing Pak-India peace process.

The participants also had a comprehensive discussion on the situation prevailing along the Pak-Afghan border, an
official release said.

Islamabad is under pressure from the United States and NATO countries who have deployed their troops in Afghanistan to reign in Taliban militants, who they claimed operated from Pakistan's Quetta region.

Musharraf rejected statements that Pakistan was fighting terrorism under any pressure. "Terrorism is a threat to our
national security, which will be eliminated at all costs and Pakistan will not allow anyone to use its soil for terrorist
activities," he said.

Reports said Musharraf was considering a review of the North Waziristan peace deal struck with tribal elders last
year to prevent militant infiltration, which the US and other countries felt was a 'total failure'.

The President apprised the participants about decisions taken to control illegal movements across the international
border, repatriation of Afghan refugees and rooting out terrorism from the country in general and Federally Administered Tribal Areas in particular.

The commanders reviewed the four-pronged strategy being followed in FATA.

"It was decided that we shall continue to pursue controlling extremism and terrorism through a political process but we shall not allow any illegal cross-border activity or any terrorist to take refuge in our area, which shall be dealt with direct military action," Musharraf said.

"Any hideout or sanctuary being used by terrorists and miscreants shall be knocked out wherever it is found," he said.

His comments came as Pakistani troops launched aerial attacks on several al-Qaida hideouts in South Waziristan in
which about 30 militants were killed.

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