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Pak ready to assist India: Musharraf

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July 14, 2006 02:53 IST

Amidst India's strong suspicion of Pakistani hand in Mumbai train blasts, President Pervez Musharraf has said his country is willing to assist with investigations being held to determine the culprits behind the incidents.

"Whosoever has done this cannot be pardoned at all. So, we condole with the Indian government and I assure Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the Pakistan government and I myself are with him in any investigation that he wants to carry out," he said in an interview with Pakistan's Business Plus Television aired on Thursday night.

Musharraf said he has expressed his shock and grief to the Indian government. "This is loss of precious innocent lives. We condemn it and we are with the Indian government to investigate anything."

On the India-Pakistan peace process, Musharraf said the two countries were progressing on the confidence building measures but have not moved much on the conflict resolution front.

He said there are political compulsions on both sides that impeded progress to resolve the contentious issues.

"Both the countries have extremists. We have them (extremists) on our side too," he said adding, it would be difficult to develop total consensus to resolve the issues.

"The problems on both sides are political and extremists are hindering the process of dialogue. But the leadership should demonstrate political will and proceed," Musharraf said.

"Having said that, it is not such a pessimistic situation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a positive human being. I think he has the desire to settle the disputes," he said.

On the CBM front, he referred to bus services between the two sides of Kashmir and large-scale movement of people between the two countries as also relaxation of visa restrictions. "Trade has increased after we resolved differences about some items. We are also buying sugar from India," he said.

"CBMS are moving but not much progress has taken place on conflict resolution" even though a lot of meetings have taken place, he said.

"Officials of both the countries meet for hours discussing contentious issues, and I wonder what they discuss," he said adding, "I consider such discussions a waste of time."

"Solution can come out in one meeting if there is will and desire. A mutually acceptable solution can be found on Siachen or Sir Creek or Wullar Barrage. But if intentions are not good progress can not be made," he said.
K J M Varma in Islamabad
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