Pakistan Ready to Abandon its Kashmir Stance?

Is Pakistan ready to abandon their Kashmir stance? Musharraf seems to be suggesting this in his interview with Prannoy Roy on NDTV (interview yet to be aired)! Its all well in the way he says it.. but the truth is that terrorism has not ended or even slowed down in the last so many years. That Mushy cannot take care of the terrorist is none of an Indian citizen’s concerns! The deal has to be struck between India and the whole of Pakistan.. not just Musharraf! So, if he gets frustrated it is not because of the Indian Government response.. but his “inability” or pretence of it with respect to stopping the terrorism!

I think its time for the Paki Prez to get a bit real!

President Pervez Musharraf pushed for a compromise settlement of the Kashmir conflict yesterday, telling Indians in a televised interview that he is prepared to give up territorial claims in the 59-year-old conflict if India will reciprocate.

Frustrated by what he says is the Indian government’s slow response to his months-old proposals, Musharraf stepped up a media campaign in India by giving an interview to a prominent private channel, NDTV. But his appearance caused ‘scant ripples’ in India’s government, the Times of India newspaper reported. India says Musharraf has failed to halt violent attacks by Pakistan-based militants.

Musharraf has been laying out his ideas this fall in the Indian press and in his autobiography – distributed in English in India – in an attempt to reach over the head of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, analysts say. Singh’s government is cautious about Musharraf’s proposals, saying Pakistan continues to sponsor violent attacks in Kashmir and elsewhere in India.

Musharraf restated an ‘outside the box’ proposal for both countries to jointly supervise an autonomous, demilitarized Kashmir. When Indian television news anchor Prannoy Roy asked, ‘So you are prepared to give up your [territorial] claim to Kashmir?’ Musharraf responded, ‘We will have to, yes, if this solution comes up.’‘Musharraf understands the reach of the media very well’ and ‘is pretty deft as a tactician,’ said Uday Bhaskar, a senior fellow at India’s Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses. ‘The big ‘but’ in this is the issue of terrorism,’ he said.

Last week, India filed criminal charges against nine Pakistanis as well as 19 Indians in the July 11 bombings of commuter trains in Mumbai (Bombay) that killed at least 185 people. India’s anti-terrorist police agency accused the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-i-Toiba (Army of the Pure) of organizing the attack. Although Musharraf formally banned the group in 2002, it continues many operations openly in Pakistan under the name Jamaat ud-Dawa (The Society of the Call).

As with Pakistani support for the Taliban in Afghanistan, the degree of official involvement in assisting Lashkar is uncertain. Pakistan’s main intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, for years sponsored Lashkar-i-Toiba and other militant groups fighting for Kashmir’s independence. Retired ISI officers still voice open support for Lashkar, but analysts say it is unclear whether the militants still get official, sanctioned assistance.

India’s junior minister for foreign affairs, Anand Sharma, said India agrees with Musharraf’s idea for ending Kashmir’s iron division along the Indian-Pakistani cease-fire line that forms an effective border. But he said relaxation ‘can only come when conflict and distrust are removed,’ a reference to India’s continued doubts that Pakistan is cracking down on militants attacking Indian-ruled Kashmir from Pakistan.

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