New Delhi: Former
Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf Saturday said that the
Pakistan Army, widely seen as anti-India, was in favour of
resolving the Kashmir issue, "the root cause of dispute", and
stressed that New Delhi should take the lead in creating peace
between the two neighbours.
Pushing for a new beginning in relations with India, Musharraf,
who now shuttles between Dubai and London, stressed that resolving
the disputes over the Siachen Glacier and Sir Creek marshlands,
were "doable" and added that the right niyat (intention) was
needed to solve these issues.
"The festering wounds of Kashmir continue. We need to resolve the
long-standing disputes. These are the causes of hatred, conflict
and war," Musharraf said while delivering the lecture "Uniting
South Asia: The Way Forward" at the Hindustan Times Leadership
These disputes, which spawn religious fundamentalism, need to be
resolved for socio-economic development of both countries, said
Musharraf, who didn't mention 26/11 attack even once in his long
Alluding to his four-point formula for resolving the Kashmir
issue, that has seemingly been put in cold storage by his
successor civilian administration, Musharraf stressed that this
roadmap was still the best way forward. The formula included,
among other things, gradual demilitarisation along the Line of
Control (LoC), giving maximum self-governance to the two halves of
Kashmir, making LoC irrelevant by opening as many routes along the
border as possible.
Musharraf said he had proposed this formula to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh when he was in power, and added that there was
"some progress" on it. He said the two sides were working on a
draft agreement for 15-20 years, but admitted there were "some
Later, speaking to reporters, Musharraf said he had invited
Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan in 2007 and sign some agreements,
but he didn't come.
However, Musharraf stressed that he did not "feel let down" by
Manmohan Singh as he had "the highest esteem for him".
"We were moving forward. There was a sincerity on both sides. In
2007, he was supposed to come to Pakistan. I told him that coming
to Pakistan would be meaningless if no agreement was signed. But
he did not come," he said.
Calling the resolution of disputes over Siachen and Sir Creek
doable, Musharraf said had he come the two sides could have done
deals on these issues.
Stressing that he was not speaking for the government of Pakistan,
he pitched for greater flow of people and trade between the two
countries to create enduring peace.
To create the right atmosphere, Musharraf said intelligence
agencies of both countries should stay away from damaging
In a statesman-like manner, Musharraf, who is better known in
India as the architect of the Kargil misadventure, said peace was
possible between the two countries if both displayed the right "niyat",
a word he used at least a dozen times during his lecture and a
separate interaction with the media.
"Compromise should come from the bigger party. India should have a
big heart because it is the bigger country. When the smaller party
makes the compromise, it can have negative connotations," he said.
Let India take the lead with a clean, large and magnanimous heart,
For creating enduring peace, he outlined three pre-requisites that
included a "sincere niyat", downsizing the roles of bureaucrats
and intelligence agencies, since they "find it difficult to break
from the past" and a strong leadership.
Musharraf, however, did not regret the Kargil adventure,
indicating that it was a retaliation for India's role in dividing
Pakistan in 1971 by creating Bangladesh. It was the same niyat
when you went to East Pakistan and Siachen," he replied when asked
what was the niyat behind the 1999 Kargil conflict.
In candid talk, Musharraf said that despite what India may think,
some extremist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa
and other militant outfits enjoyed tremendous public support in
He, however, treaded cautiously when asked about the anti-India
activities of Hafiz Mohammed, suspected by India to be the 26/11
mastermind, saying these activities did not fit into the course of
rapprochement and reconciliation the two countries were engaged
Against the backdrop of the withdrawal of foreign troops from
Afghanistan, Musharraf, however, warned India against trying to
create an anti-Islamabad Afghanistan and underlined that both
India and Pakistan "should stop proxy war" in the violence-torn
"Either Afghanistan goes back to 1989, when the Soviets left and
warlords began fighting, or it goes back to 1996, when the Taliban
came. If the US leaves a minimum force, then the situation should
be maintainable," he said.