AUCKLAND, June 18: President Gen Pervez Musharraf has said Pakistan is making efforts for lasting peace in the subcontinent through an amicable resolution of the Kashmir dispute with India, and stressed that the two sides could overcome obstacles with courage and determination.
Addressing the Pakistani community on Saturday, he said Pakistan and India were engaged in a dialogue process to find a final a solution to the decades-old dispute.
“I see light at the end of the tunnel because I think there is desire on both sides to address the issue. We are moving in this direction; both sides will have to show sincerity, flexibility and courage for final settlement of the dispute.”
Referring to his meetings with Dr Manmohan Singh, the president said he felt that the Indian prime minister had the desire and courage to address the issue.
He said that not only the leadership on both sides had the desire to address the issues but also the people of the two countries wanted peace.
“The people of the two countries have overtaken the leadership in their desire for peace,” he said, adding that peace can help economic and trade cooperation in South Asia to the benefit of all the nations.
The leadership in the two countries had a critical responsibility to grasp the opportunity of peace building ‘otherwise, future generations will not forgive us,” he said and recalled that several agreements between Pakistan and India had failed in the past as they did not address the underlying cause of tension.
The president reiterated his call for proactive efforts by all against extremism and reiterated Islamabad’s firm commitment to eliminating extremism and terrorism from the country.
“We will crush and eliminate terrorism with force; we will not allow any terrorist to pursue his agenda on the Pakistani soil,” he said.
Pakistan, he said, had to address both extremism and terrorism as ‘we require a peaceful and congenial environment to continue our march on the path of economic growth and to reduce poverty through wider distribution of economic gains.’
He said the government was strategically tackling extremism by promoting moderation, tolerance and harmony, which were true values of Islam.
“The vast majority (of the people) is moderate and wants peace and harmony but there are people who want to impose their will on others; let us tolerate each other, let us live and let live; instead of imposing their will on others, everyone should pay attention to responsibilities to society and the nation,” he said amid applause from the expatriate Pakistanis, who had travelled from several parts of New Zeeland to listen to him.
TALKS WITH NZ PM: President Musharraf and Prime Minister Helen Clark continued informal discussions here on Saturday, with the New Zealand leader accepting an invitation to visit Pakistan in the near future.
At a lunch hosted by Mr Clark, the leaders exchanged views on increasing cooperation in the areas of interest to both countries, focusing on cooperation in the fields of agriculture, education and primary healthcare in the two-day talks. They also explored avenues for promotion of bilateral trade and business.
President Musharraf visited a navigational communication company, Navman, where the officials briefed him about its products, including electronics and global positioning system.
He also visited a dairy farm in the suburbs of Auckland to witness sophisticated agro-technology at work.
The farm, sprawling over 150 acres of grazing land, houses 350 cows and is one of the 12,000 such dairy farms in the Pacific country, run by a cooperative group of dairy farmers.
The president expressed Pakistan’s keenness to benefit from New Zeeland’s rich experience in modernizing its key agro sector. —-APP