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Rediff.com  » News » Musharraf advocates 'new path' for Indo-Pak peace

Musharraf advocates 'new path' for Indo-Pak peace

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
March 06, 2009 19:57 IST
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Describing terrorism and extremism as a "common threat" to India and Pakistan, former President Pervez Musharraf on Friday said the two countries need to adopt a "new path of peace and harmony" to resolve the problem. "We are facing terrorism and extremism as a common threat to the whole world, the region, Pakistan and India. That is what we need to discuss and find solutions (and work) towards a resolution," he told reporters at the airport before leaving for New Delhi to take part in India Today conclave.

Noting that there had been a "cold war" between India and Pakistan since 1947, Musharraf said "if we want to resolve our common problems, we should adopt a new path of peace and harmony."

"I think the situation demands that we interact with each other. So that way, I think my visit is very appropriate," he said, adding the two countries "should forget the past and move towards the future."

Musharraf said the two countries had been "making progress on the Kashmir issue" and working for the resolution of all problems during his tenure as President.

"We should begin from that again and take things forward," he added. The former military ruler, who will deliver an address on the topic 'Challenge of Change' at the conclave, said he would speak frankly on Indo-Pak ties.

Musharraf said he had no plans to meet any Indian leaders except ailing former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as he was not on a political visit. "Vajpayee is ill and if I get an opportunity, I would like to meet him," he said. Vajpayee and Musharraf had launched the Composite Dialogue process in 2004.

India put the dialogue on hold after the Mumbai attacks, which New Delhi has blamed on Pakistan-based elements, including the Lashker-e-Tayiba terror group. Musharraf also said he was not playing any role in forging a possible alliance between the Pakistan People's Party and the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. Asked about the proposed campaign by the lawyers' movement to press for the restoration of judges sacked by him during the 2007 emergency, he said "any Pakistani who loves his country would want peace, development and the welfare and well-being of the people."

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad