Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf shares an opinion that India has invited him for talks following pressure mounted by the US as well as the attacks from the Islamic militant groups in Kashmir and ruled out any discussion on independence to the state in the forthcoming Indo-Pak summit.
Reporting on yesterday's meeting between Gen. Musharraf and senior editors of Pakistani newspapers, local daily Dawn said today that the military ruler agreed with an opinion expressed by an editor that Indians faced pressure from US to negotiate and resolve issues with Pakistan.
He also agreed that Vajpayee could not have invited him for talks had there been no pressure by the international community, it said. Gen. Musharraf has also said that the struggle by the Jihadi groups had also contributed to the Indian realisation that New Delhi should settle issues with Islamabad.
Pakistan newsagency Online has quoted Gen. Musharraf ruling out talks on the third option during his meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. In turn the negotiations would be 'overshadowed' by the core issue of Kashmir, he told the editors.
Some of the editors who took part in Gen. Musharraf's meeting said the military ruler has assured them that he would not have any secret understanding with India on Kashmir, Siachen or any other issue during his meeting with Vajpayee and he would try his best to meet Hurriyat Conference leaders during his stay in New Delhi.
Musharraf told editors, though he would try his best to meet the Hurriyat leaders, it was not his endeavour to go for a confrontation with Indian leadership on this issue.
He is also understood to have said that the question of him reaching any secret understanding with India on Kashmir or any other issue 'simply' did not arise and promised to be as transparent as possible.
The General said that in order to prove his intentions he would try to address a joint press conference with Vajpayee at the end of the summit in Agra.
During his three-hour interaction with the editors, he also revealed that he had three telephone conversations with Vajpayee during the past few weeks and he made it clear that Kashmir would be the focus of his talks.
The General stated that he was given to understand by Vajpayee that Kashmir would be the main issue on the agenda.
He also told Vajpayee that the statements emanating from Indian leaders, stating that Kashmir belonged to India, vitiated the atmosphere.
At this, Vajpayee is understood to have said that the media distorted the statements.
Referring to the importance he attached to Kashmir issue, Gen. Musharraf has been quoted as saying by the state television in its report on the editors meeting, that there was a vast difference between talks on Kashmir and all other issues and all other issues and Kashmir.
Musharraf was assured by the Indian leaders that it would be Kashmir and all other issues and not the other way.
The difference between the two approaches is like the difference between the sky and earth, he said.
The official APP newsagency, reported Gen. Musharraf as telling editors that he had decided to go to New Delhi after sensing Indian leadership's 'realisation' to resolve Kashmir issue and reiterated that Pakistan would join India at the summit in Agra next month with an 'open mind and an open agenda' to have a focussed dialogue on Kashmir and all other issues.
He said that he had sensed a realisation on the Indian side to resolve Kashmir issue which was not the case on previous occasions when the two countries had met and discussed bilateral relations.
He said he was willing to discuss the relationship in its entirety and expected reciprocity from the other side.
Musharraf, however, cautioned against placing too much hope on this visit alone as the complexities of the problem and the mistrust of half a century could not be removed overnight. (PTI)