International The News - The Internet Edition
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Kashmir issue not to be sidelined: Musharraf

By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: President General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday said Pakistan welcomed the recent thaw in relations with India, reiterating the country stands for peace in the region.

"Pakistan stands for peace in South Asia and the peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues with India including the core issue of Kashmir through a meaningful dialogue based on sovereign equality," President Musharraf told top commanders who participated in the day-long 85th Corps Commanders Conference at General Headquarters (GHQ). He said Pakistan would never sideline the Kashmir issue.

The conference took up host of issues, including professional matters, and deliberated on operational preparedness with prevailing geo-strategic environment in the region.

Musharraf said Pakistan would never compromise on its honour and dignity or allow itself to be coerced. He briefed the participants, which included corps commanders and principal staff officers, on his meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Prince Karim Aga Khan, Special Envoy of King of Morocco, and US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

On Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, President Musharraf expressed satisfaction at the cordiality that existed between the two countries. The president said his relations with President Karzai were extremely positive and there was unanimity of views on all regional issues between the two countries.

The participants of the conference, which took place in the backdrop of recent moves initiated by Pakistan to engage India in dialogue, were also briefed about the external and internal security situation in the country.