Kashmir issue 'root cause which spawns war', needs to be resolved: Pervez Musharraf

Pervez Musharraf
Underlining that there is a need to "bury the hatchet", former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday said the Kashmir issue, the "root cause which spawns war", needs to be resolved.

He claimed that the Pakistan Army was fully backing the peace initiative with India and stressed that all issues have to be dealt with at the same time rather than follow a "step-by-step" process.

"We need to resolve the long-standing disputes between India and Pakistan because these are the causes of hatred, causes of conflict and the wars...

"We have to resolve this (Kashmir issue). This is actually the root cause which spawns not only the war or conflict but which spawns Mujahideens and religious militancy in Pakistan," Musharraf said at an event.

He said the issues need to resolved for the socio-economic development of the people.

"It is high time we open our eyes to reality," he said, adding that both India and Pakistan need to take cue from Europe.

"We need to bury the hatchet," the former military ruler, who is now in exile said.

Musharraf spoke about his four-point formula for resolving the Kashmir issue, a matter he said was discussed with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

His formula included gradual demilitarisation along the Line of Control, giving maximum self governance to the two halves of Kashmir, making LoC irrelevant by opening as many routes along the border as possible and working on an over-watch mechanism.

Musharraf said he had invited Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan in 2007 but had said that the trip would be "meaningless" if any pacts are not signed. "Unfortunately he didn't."

However, Musharraf stressed that he did not "feel let down" by Manmohan Singh as he had "the highest esteem for him".

The former President also said that India, should be magnanimous and generous and take the initiative for a paradigm shift for a way forward in uniting South Asia.

He said that compromise and accommodation should come from the "bigger and stronger".

In his opinion, the three essential prerequisites for improving ties between the two countries are good 'niyat' of the leadership of the two countries, compromise and cooperation between the leaders and leaders forcing their will on the diplomats to take forward the ties.

"No hypocrisy but niyat or a sincere intention with heart, soul and mind, is required or a paradigm shift," Musharraf, who was President from 2001-08 said.

He also blamed the India Army for not being keen on finding a solution to Siachen, despite the Indian side facing "five-time more casualties due to difficult terrain and bad weather".

Speaking on the situation in Afghanistan, he said if there are any moves to create an anti-Islamabad Afghanistan, Pakistan will react. "If there is a proxy or an attempt to create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan, we have a right to create a pro-Pakistan Afghanistan," he said.

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