Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf has set a deadline of July-August for positive developments vis-à-vis the Kashmir issue and warned that the peace process between Pakistan and India could get derailed if the core issue is not addressed quickly and seriously.
"If peace process does not move forward, then I will not be a party to it," local English newspaper Dawn quoted the president assaying at the Army House on Tuesday.
Musharraf said the foreign ministers of the two countries needed to break the deadlock by July-August, otherwise the confidence building-measures (CBMs) initiated in the current detente would come to an end.
He said Pakistan would reconsider its position if the expected results were not delivered by July-August.
The president said he had informed the Indian leadership and the Western powers that if talks on Kashmir were not initiated within the set timeframe, then there would be no use of continuing the dialogue.
Musharraf said both India and Pakistan had to show flexibility on the Kashmir issue and go beyond their stated positions.
The CBMs had yielded some positive results with a realization on both sides that it was time to resolve the Kashmir issue, he said.
He said both countries understood the importance of resolving the long festering dispute without which peace could not prevail in the region.
Responding to a question, Musharraf said Pakistan was committed to diplomatic and political support to the indigenous Kashmir struggle waged by freedom fighters in India-controlled Kashmir.
He said people should not even think that the present leadership would sell out the Kashmir cause.
(Xinhua News Agency April 1, 2004)