Kashmir to be discussed during India visit: Musharraf

Associated Press

Islamabad, April 9:

Pakistan’s President General Pervez Musharraf today said he will discuss the decades-old flashpoint of Kashmir with Indian leaders during a two-day visit to New Delhi next week. Musharraf will travel to India on Saturday to watch a cricket match between the rival South Asian neighbours. Musharraf told a gathering of students in Islamabad that he is more interested in talks on Kashmir than watching cricket.

“I am going to India on April 16 to watch the cricket match ...I’ll discuss Kashmir ... it is more important,” he said. Musharraf had last visited India in 2001 at the city of Agra for a summit with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. But the two leaders had failed to reach any agreement on Kashmir. The two nations began a peace process last year to resolve all issues, including Kashmir.

On Thursday, the two rival countries started a fortnightly bus service for the divided families of Kashmir, a move welcomed by the international community. Musharraf said the bus service linking Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan’s part of Kashmir, and Srinagar, capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, was the first step toward a resolution of the rankling issue. New Delhi has long accused Islamabad of supporting insurgents in Kashmir. More than 66,000 people have died over the past 15 years in the conflict. Pakistan says it gives political support to the rebels, but denies providing military support to the insurgents.