PRESS CONFERENCE BY PAKISTAN'S PRESIDENT
Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York
15 September 2005
India and Pakistan had made a commitment to move forward with a peaceful resolution of the Jammu-Kashmir dispute yesterday in their bilateral meeting, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan said this afternoon at a Headquarters press conference.
The President said he had had a fruitful discussion with the Prime Minister of India. On the sensitive issue of Jammu-Kashmir, the two countries would need to move towards a discussion of details and modalities to further their commitment, he said, noting that the Indian Foreign Minister would be meeting with the Pakistani Foreign Minister next month in Pakistan.
Noting that, for some, the violence was considered a freedom struggle and that others called it cross-border terrorism, the President said such phrasings complicated matters and unnecessarily created misunderstandings. “Any violence against civilians is terrorism”, he said. “That is how I define terrorism. We need to remove violence against the people in Kashmir and the violence thought being done by those coming across the line of control. We need to address both of them. It has become almost a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. Which should be addressed first? But I think we should go ahead and address both of them simultaneously.” A line of action and the modalities to be adopted to curb both types of violence needed to be discussed in the future.
In response to a question on whether, in light of new evidence, Pakistan would agree to allow Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the top Pakistani nuclear scientist accused of selling sensitive nuclear technology, to be interrogated by non-Pakistani investigators, President Musharraf said that there was no new information. Pakistan had said all along that Dr. Khan had proliferated to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran and Libya. Pakistan was not allowing interrogation by others for two reasons: first, because it was a matter of sensitivity; second, because it implied a lack of trust in Pakistan’s capacity to interrogate, as well as a lack of faith in its intention to share the information with others. “We have no intention of hiding facts”, he said. He added that there was an underworld of high technology that involved many organizations and individuals known to everyone. It involved a whole underworld network, including countries of the West.
Asked what the next phase in Pakistani-Israeli relations was, the President said his country had taken major steps in establishing relations. Talking to Israel was once taboo in Pakistan. He noted that he had just accepted an invitation to address the United States Jewish Congress, which would once have been unheard of. “We saw the bold step taken by Prime Minister Sharon in Gaza and the evacuation of some towns in the West Bank and we thought this was the time where we need to show our own progress in relations”, he said. “Therefore the two foreign ministers met. So I would say this is a step-by-step approach. We cannot start sprinting before we learn how to walk.” The key issue was to resolve the matter of the Palestinians, who had to have their own homeland, he added.
When a reporter recounted his being quoted as having said “Women were getting raped to get a visa”, the President said that he had actually been repeating a remark he had heard. There was a problem with women’s rights and rape and violence against women all over the world. What he objected to was Pakistan being singled out.
The President also offered his country’s sympathy to those who had suffered from Hurricane Katrina in the United States. Pakistan had not only expressed its shock and grief, but had sent whatever it could in the form of cash aid of $1 million, as well as a medical team.
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For information media • not an official record
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