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vajpayee-musharuff meet

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    Sports Chronicle
    TV Guide
    Vajpayee, Musharraf meet likely after Ramzan
    Dubai, Dec. 1: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistanmilitary ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf may have their first face-to-face meeting in New Delhi after Ramzan if the Indian government’s unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir holds good and the Pakistani leader responds to it positively.
    According to Mansoor Ijaz, the American businessman of Pakistani origin involved in the mediation efforts on Kashmir, if the Pakistan military ruler “responds positively and joins the peace effort, then Indo-Pakistani bilateral negotiations could begin immediately in a summit between Vajpayee and Gen Musharraf in Delhi and run simultaneously with Indo-Kashmiri bilateral talks.

    The proposal is on Gen Musharraf’s table and we are asking him to respond in the coming weeks.’’In an interview to Gulf News in Dubai, Ijaz, a member of the influential US think tank council on foreign relations who has made five visits to India and Pakistan in the past one year to break the deadlock on Kashmir, pointed to “unexpected moves’’ such as the ceasefire and a bid to unite Kashmir’s militant and political forces as being demonstrative of “attitude shifts’’ in New Delhi that was expected to trigger the same in Islamabad.

    Complimenting Vajpayee for going ahead with the ceasefire, he said the grave risk the Prime Minister ran now was how long the Indian public could withstand the humiliation of attacks on its Army.

    However, while recalling his recent conversations with strategic planners in New Delhi, Ijaz said he sensed there was a “fundamental commitment to find peace, no matter the cost.’’ His view was that “If India is prepared to bleed through what many Indians now believe is a pointless guerrilla war, they may be willing to bleed the same amount for peace — a strategy that will clearly pay greater dividends.’’

    About India’s refusal to talk Ijaz said “While the World intelligence community knows how much military support the ISI and Pakistani Army give the Kashmiris, it is patently absurd for Islamabad to violate its own publicly stated position and thereby create a false pretense for not talking.”

    He was of the firm view that eventually Gen Musharraf was going to overcome internal resistance by responding to India’s peace overture, mostly because that was what the Kashmiris wanted. The Kashmiris were sick and tired of the violence and bloodshed from both sides, he added.

    The intermediary said empowering the Kashmiris politically after years of backing them militarily and financially could, in fact, be Pakistan’s face-saving exit strategy. The Kashmiris, he claimed, were strongly for a third option which offered independence. There was growing international backing for such a position.

    This transformation, explained Ijaz, was the direct result of the change in Kashmir’s “freedom struggle” from an indigenous uprising against “Indian oppression” to one whose character was today defined by mercenary groups, willing to kill anyone, including their own to demonstrate their virility.

    Ijaz said that when he visited Kashmir, he was amazed to find unanimity of opinion among ordinary Kashmiris that neither the mercenaries nor the troops were welcome there anymore.

    Thank you for posting this rivkz .

    But I think this would be more appropriate in Pakistan Affairs where I am transferring this.