Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf expressed "cautious optimism" today that the dispute with India over Kashmir could be settled in a few months. He asked India to show sincerity in talks over the protracted Kashmir dispute, saying that its solution is a prerequisite for peace and stability in South Asia.
Musharraf said that the long running conflict over the Himalayan region could be resolved "maybe in months if there is sincerity" on both sides.
Musharraf also said that he would try to evolve a "time bound" framework to resolve Kashmir issue during his
forthcoming summit with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"During my talks with the Indian Prime Minister, I would call for a certain framework for the resolution of Kashmir problem. I would also urge the
Indian leadership that dialogue must continue under certain framework", Musharraf was quoted as saying during his meeting with Kashmiri leaders
After the meeting, Kashmiri Affairs Minister Abbas Sarfraz Khan told local media that all issues, including Siachen, could also come up for discussion during the July 15 Summit, Pakistan daily Dawn reported.
The Minister said that previously there was no framework of talks, nor timetable for the resolution of the Kashmir problem. But now efforts would be made by Musharraf to have some time bound framework to resolve this issue.
Speaking to journalists at his army residence in Rawalpindi, yesterday Musharraf said rivalry over Kashmir was the only significant obstacle to friendly ties Musharraf and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will hold their first summit-level dialogue in the Agra from July 14 to 16 in a bid to find a solution to the Kashmir dispute.
The president declined to outline possible scenarios that could restore peace between the two countries but insisted that "a solution cannot be reached without the Kashmiris."
"Other issues are minor irritants .. If you want to improve relations between the two countries, solving the core issue of
Kashmir is a must," he said. "If there is sincerity from both the sides, (the) Kashmir dispute can be resolved in less than a year." "I
go with all sincerity and I hope there is sincerity on their part too,"
"The President said he himself believes that there cannot be any instant
solution for all the problems and that he is going to India with an open mind and with an effort to create a conducive environment for future talks,"
Khan told the media. (PTI)