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Future Pak govts need not honour India-Musharraf deals

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    Future Pak govts need not honour India-Musharraf deals

    'Future Pak govts need not honour Musharraf deals'
    The Times of India News Service

    Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is disappointed by the Indian government's decision to invite military ruler Musharraf for talks. Ms Bhutto talked to Seema Guha extensively on the future of Indo-Pak relations in the context of Kashmir. Excerpts:

    Q. Do you think India is doing the right thing by engaging with Pakistan's military leader. Are you disappointed that instead of refusing to talk to Gen Musharraf, on the grounds that he has overthrown a democratically elected leader, India, the world's largest democracy has invited him to Delhi.

    A: The PPP advocates dialogue between India and Pakistan for a resolution of outstanding disputes between the two countries, including the Kashmir dispute. However, it is double-minded about the world's largest democracy dealing with a military dictatorship in Pakistan.

    Q. In the unlikely chance of a breakthrough, will a democratically elected government abide by the decisions of a military dictator. Suppose you come to power, will you honour any agreement signed by Musharraf and Vajpayee.

    A: An agreement signed by an unelected and unrepresentative military ruler would be of no legal binding on a future parliament or government in Pakistan. This is the view of the Opposition alliance for the Restoration of Democracy of which the PPP is a part. The ARD is completely in the dark about the proposed visit.

    Q: Do you think India should have waited till the political leaders were back at the helm in Pakistan.

    A: It would have been better for South Asia, and for India as a democracy, to have waited until democracy was restored in a year. The perception is that India was under a lot of pressure from certain quarters to deal with General Musharraf. Some forces believe a military dictator commanding the army can deliver more than a democratic leadership which the army suspects. That view is unshared by the PPP. A military dictator lacks the support of the people and has the vested interest to sustain tension. For many, the beleaguered military regime will be seen as going to New Delhi to get a respite from the international community.

    Q: Is Musharraf in control in Pakistan? Can the General rein in groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and other extremist religious groups.

    A: A government with the will can rein in unlawful groups such as the Lashkar- e-Taiba and others. However, turmoil hurts democracy and suits undemocratic governments. An example is the Karachi insurgency. The army was unable to deal with it but a democratic government in Sindh brought it to an end. Similarly, a democratic government in the Punjab can handle the unlawful activities of extremist groups.

    Q: Which issue, according to you is more important ... Kashmir is the core issue between India and Pakistan or the nuclear danger triggered by India-Pakistan nuke tests.

    A: Both Kashmir and the nuclear danger are important issues. When Rajiv Gandhi visited Pakistan in 1988 we signed an agreement not to attack each others nuclear facilities and also established a hot line between our two General Headquarters. That helped prevent an all out war between the two countries when tensions twice threatened to spill into conflict. So confidence building is important.

    Q: Many experts in India believe that the only pragmatic solution on Kashmir is to convert the LoC to the international border. This perhaps can be sold to the Indian public. Can Pakistan agree?.

    A: Musharraf can better answer that question now. But all past wars ended with the recognition of the LoC, albeit de facto, as the international border and ended up with another round of conflict. But it's up to the All-Party Hurriyat Conference to contribute to the peace process and what it believes can help the Kashmiris express their aspirations.

    Q: If not, what is the solution, a plebiscite may be difficult to sell to the Indian public. Can you give a rough idea about your party's views on a solution to a problem which has brought everything else and especially trade links to a stop.

    A: The PPP has proposed a Camp David type solution envisaging a step-by-step approach. In the step-by-step approach we propose open borders between the two Kashmirs, allowing for free movement of the people from one part to the other whilst India and Pakistan agree on how to maintain a safe open border.

    Q: The Indian public, except ofcourse the hardline religious right are all for better relations with Pakistan. Is there a similar view in your country? Meaning apart from the religious right others also want peace?

    A: The democratic and popular parties and the intelligentsia by and large support the peace process. However, there are hard liners on the extreme.

    Q: Many experts both in India and Pakistan believe that a military government in Pakistan and a hardline BJP government in India are in a better position to make a deal rather than the Congress or other so called secular party's here. And as the military have enormous influence in Pakistan, a military government will carry the security forces with it. Your views.

    A: I disagree with the contention that dealing with a military dictator can help India resolve the Kashmir dispute or win over the sentiments of the Kashmiri or Pakistani people. Ultimately, the people are the masters of their own destiny and dealing with a representative government is the best way forward.

    Q: There have been reports that you may come to India. Are these true. If so why do you wish to come here. And when can we expect you?

    A: I am hoping to visit India some time later this year

    India is being criticized by Pakistani leaders saying that it being the World's largest democracy it should not talk to Musharraf who is not an elected leader.

    And what does India gain if the future governments dont honor any agreements made. Lahore Agreement made by Vajpayee-Sharif was not accepted by Musharraf.

    Musharraf days are numbered (Oct 2002). Will anyone gain on Musharraf's visit to India. It is said that there has been a lot of pressure from Western powers to convert LOC into international border.


      Originally posted by mohabbat:

      Musharraf days are numbered (Oct 2002).
      who told u that? pak court put this deadline. does army listen to pak court or musharraf? pak court gave this deadline quoting 'national need'. with gun pointed to the chest, this deadline can easily extend by another 10 yrs quoting 'national need'.

      what is the mechanism in which pak court can implement this order? it cant. army does not listen court. so to save its face, they will just extend deadline.


        Agar log Supreme Court ke baat nahi sunain gay to Pakistan ka kya hoga. Will might be always right ?


          Yeah that is what India govt says.
          The Pakistani govt will honor the commitments.
          And the CE is the next pres.
          Pure and Simple.

          Our's not to reason why,
          Our's but to do and die:
          You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!


            Also who cares what Bhutto thinks??

            Our's not to reason why,
            Our's but to do and die:
            You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!


              And what makes you feel anybody cares what you think ?