India-Pakistan ties improved under Manmohan, not Vajpayee, says Musharraf.
London, October 11, 2010 (Frontier Star): The former Pakistani
President, Parvez Musharraf, has said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
deserves full marks for his sincerity in resolving the Kashmir issue and
wanting peace with Pakistan, but is held back from making a bold move
for fear of domestic political backlash. General (retired) Musharraf
said that it was Dr. Singh, and not his Bharatiya Janata Party predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who deserved real credit for the
breakthrough in India-Pakistan relations. It was with Manmohan Singh
that we moved forward towards an agreement, not with Vajpayee, he told
NDTV in the second part of his widely reported interview with Barkha
Dutt. I give full marks to Manmohan Singh, he said, but claimed that the
Indian Prime Minister lacked boldness and courage in making any
concessions on Kashmir for fear of domestic pressures. In any agreement,
there is give and take... and it is the give part that creates problems,
he said while calling for a bold and courageous Indian response. General
Musharraf said that India and Pakistan were very close to an agreement
before he lost power. We were as close as drafting the final agreement.
Asked how close they came to an agreement on Kashmir and whether there
was a specific draft on the issue, he said: Well it was being formed.
The draft was being formulated, that is the good thing, and it was being
formulated in good spirit. He dismissed the Lahore Declaration signed
during the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayees, visit to
Pakistan in February 1999 with the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif. He said there was nothing in Lahore Declaration that could form
the basis for a settlement of the Kashmir dispute which, he insisted,
must be resolved in the interest of genuine peace. General Musharraf
said he happened to see the draft of the Declaration and was surprised
that there was no mention of Kashmir. He said he told Mr. Sharif that it
made no sense and a few sentences were then drafted. But he removed them
from the final Declaration. In a way he (Sharif) bluffed me, he said.
General Musharraf also questioned the interviewers reference to the Agra
Agreement of 2001 saying that there was no agreement. It was only when
the Congress returned to power in 2004 with Dr. Singh as Prime Minister
that the two countries moved forward towards an agreement. He said Dr.
Singh had a very good sense about India-Pakistan relations. I respect
him very much, he repeatedly said. General Musharraf said he had no
regrets over Kargil, describing it as a result of the history of
confrontation between the two countries.
(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)