July 12, 2001
Volume 2, #28
The Times of India cited Indian officials as saying that their expectations for the upcoming summit are not high. One official was quoted as saying, “Reviving the composite dialogue, putting into action the steps mentioned in the Lahore Declaration, and making some kind of institutional arrangement for annual consultations between the Indian PM and Pakistani President, is our aim for now.”
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee told opposition parties on Monday that, despite Pakistani claims, Kashmir will not become the sole issue at the summit with President Pervez Musharraf.
Pakistan’s President General Pervez Musharraf hinted at the possible steps that he and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee could take at their forthcoming summit meeting to begin addressing the Kashmir issue. He reiterated the need for both countries to go beyond their publicly declared stands on the issue, to keep an open mind, to demonstrate flexibility and to shun rigidity.
Abbas Sarfaraz Khan, Pakistan Minister for Kashmir Affairs, said that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf will bring only a small delegation to his summit meeting in India to underline his determination to focus on the Kashmir dispute. Khan stated, “It’s going to be a small team, it’s going to be primarily focused upon the matter at hand, the fundamentals of the problem.”
Former foreign ministers, retired generals and intellectuals who called on President Gen Pervez Musharraf underlined the need to focus the Kashmir issue in the forthcoming talks with India. There was a consensus at the meeting that without the resolution of core issue of Kashmir, normalization of relations with India was not possible.
Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf wrote to All-Party Hurriyat Conference chairman Abdul Gani Bhat expressing his desire to meet the Kashmiri leader during his stay in India. An Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson telling Pakistan not to focus on extraneous issues during the summit, but a Pakistan foreign office spokesman pointed out that the Hurriyat leaders have been invited in the past. Another Pakistan official said that the controversy would not affect the summit.
Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf on July 4 called on India to involve the leadership of All Parties Hurriyat Conference into the dialogue process, arguing that a solution to the Kashmir issue is not possible without their involvement.
Kashmir’s main opposition alliance, APHC, said that opposition to its request for a meeting with leaders of Pakistan and India indicated that both the countries were interested only in possession of certain territory and not the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Hurriyat Chairman Abdul Ghani Bhat said that he would not be disappointed if the Indian government did not allow the Hurriyat leaders to meet Musharraf, saying that India and Pakistan will eventually have to include the Kashmiri leadership in their talks to find a workable and acceptable solution to the Kashmir dispute.
The Times of India wrote that US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage’s remarks on India and Pakistan, which suggested that the US had a greater “commonality ” with India than with Pakistan, were a hint to Pakistan to “behave” itself during the coming Agra Summit. The article also argued that “no serious diplomatic or political observer is willing to take … at face value” the idea that the US played no role in realizing the summit.
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee sent the director general of military operations (DGMO), Lieutenant General G S Sihota, to Islamabad in the hope of extending recent agreements along the Line of Control to the Siachen region. Vajpayee also signalled the immediate resumption of the nuclear dialogue between the two countries at the experts’ level and also involving non-official exchanges. Pakistan welcomed the visit.
The Times of India editorialized that of all the India-Pakistan disputes, the one over the Siachen Glacier-Saltoro Ridge could be resolved immediately.
PRC Ambassador to Pakistan Lu Shulin said that the PRC fully supports the upcoming Pakistan-India summit and hopes that it will help resolve the Kashmir issue. Lu stated, “We believe that a political dialogue, under the aegis of UN, is still the best option for a solution as war is no answer to any problem.” United Nations Security Council President Wang Yingfan of China described the summit as a “positive development” and expressed the hope it would lay foundations for durable peace in the region..
In what the Indian Foreign Office described as “a reflection of our positive approach” to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s visit to Delhi later this month, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee ordered the release of Pakistani civilian prisoners and fishermen from Indian jails and invited as many people as he could in one day to visit, study and spend time in India as the government’s guests.
Union Home Minister L.K. Advani suggested the formation of a Confederation of South Asian states, including India and Pakistan. “I am confident that Vajpayee’s initiative will create a conducive atmosphere in the direction of the formation of a Confederation of India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and Nepal in the days ahead,” Advani added.
The Indian government on Sunday night decided to review the ceasefire agreement with the NSCN (I-M), and its extension to areas beyond Nagaland. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee stated, “We shall review the ceasefire agreement, including the words ‘without territorial limits’ presently incorporated in the agreement, so as to ensure that all doubts about preserving the integrity of Manipur and other states of the North-East are removed.”
Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray said that he is willing to join hands with the BJP and the NCP to form a government, but added that deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who belongs to the NCP, should have nothing to do with the realignment.
General Pervez Musharraf reconstituted the National Security Council to aid and advise him on matters relating to Islamic ideology, national security, sovereignty, integrity and solidarity of Pakistan. According to Chief Executive Order No.5, the president will be the chairman of the council, which will comprise the chief executive, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, the three services chiefs, provincial governors and “such other members” as may be appointed by the president on his discretion.
US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said on Tuesday there was much work to be done to build political support for lifting US sanctions on Pakistan, but the forthcoming India-Pakistan summit could have an impact on this process. The chairman of the US House of Representatives’ foreign relations committee, Representative Henry Hyde, said on Saturday that he would urge the Bush administration to lift economic sanctions against Pakistan. He argued that it was understandable that Pakistan should have carried out its nuclear tests because they were responding to the Indian tests.
The Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) held its first workers’ convention and reiterated demands for the restoration of 1973 constitution, schedule for holding of general elections by October 12 this year and freedom of political activities.
Chaudhry Shafiq Ahmad, an advocate of Supreme Court from Rawalpindi, filed a petition with the Supreme Court challenging the “self-induction” of Gen Pervez Musharraf as president and removal of the elected president and dissolution of the National Assembly.
US Ambassador to Pakistan William B. Milam said that the US believes that General Pervez Musharraf will restore democracy according to the mandate and timeframe set by the Supreme Court.
Outgoing US ambassador to Pakistan William B. Milam said that the US has said that Pakistan’s collaboration with the Taliban is the major obstacle to improved US-Pakistan relations. Milam called Pakistan “one of Afghanistan’s few allies and its major diplomatic channel to the world.”
President General Pervez Musharraf hopes to get Kashmir acknowledged by India as an unsettled dispute in the joint statement to be issued at the end of the summit meeting with prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, diplomatic sources told Dawn.
The Times of India carried an editorial that said that while the Kashmir dispute has long been an issue of contention between India and Pakistan, whether it is the cause of their estrangement or its consequence is more difficult to determine.
A Washington Post correspondent reported that popular opinion in Azad Kashmir does not expect a breakthrough on the Kashmir issue at this month’s Pakistan-India summit. Hizbul Mujahideen, on Sunday urged India and Pakistan to fulfil the dream of peace in the valley at their upcoming summit.
Dawn reported that election to the AJK legislative assembly was held in a peaceful atmosphere amid tight security. Unofficial results showed that the All Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference gained a majority in the elections, defeating its nearest rival, the AJK branch of Pakistan Peoples Party.
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee announced the revival of an old land route to Pakistan that links Rajasthan with Sindh, and signalled the resumption of normal civilian traffic between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar in Kashmir. Indian foreign ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said that Vajpayee had ordered that “henceforth Pakistani passport holders will be allowed to come by the road route and obtain visas at the check post at Attari.”
Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga expressed hope on Friday that the Pervez-Vajpayee summit would boost regional cooperation. The Lankan foreign ministry said Kumaratunga hoped the summit would bring “positive results”.
All opposition parties in Sri Lanka for the first time joined together in calling for an early date to debate a no-confidence motion against the government.
Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry on Saturday criticized India’s statement that it was greatly disappointed over the Sri Lankan Air Force bombings of LTTE targets in the north.