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Demilitarise Kashmir: Musharraf

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October 31, 2005 22:41 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Monday said the October 8 quake provided a 'great opportunity' to move towards a solution to the Kashmir issue.

He said the quake has given a chance to demilitarise the region to provide comfort to the people.

Expressing happiness over the agreement between the two countries to open five points along the LoC to set up relief camps, he said India and Pakistan should hold talks to take a 'lot more steps' towards resolving Kashmir.

"The interaction should not be restricted to relief camps that we have opened. I am for going beyond that.

"This is an opportunity which we should utilise to move towards a solution. I think this a great opportunity," he told foreign correspondents and editors at his Army House residence in Rawalpindi.

Both countries should consider demilitarising both sides of Kashmir as both military and civilians suffered damage during the earthquake, Musharraf said.

"The army and civilians on both sides suffered damage. We should think of demilitarising. Let us give comfort to those people," he said.

"A lot can be done if we sit down and talk and a lot of steps can be taken," he said. Over 470 Pakistani soldiers stationed in Pak-occupied Kashmir were killed and over 600 injured in the October 8 killer earthquake.

K J M Varma in Rawalpindi
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