ISLAMABAD, March 1: President General Pervez Musharraf said on Wednesday he expected US President George W. Bush to use his influence to help settle the Kashmir dispute.
“My expectations are that he should be talking of Kashmir, and resolution of Kashmir and putting his weight behind resolution of the issue,” he said in an interview to BBC ahead of a visit by the US President to Pakistan.
Asked if he expected any breakthrough on Kashmir, the president said: “Breakthrough will not come through President Bush’s visit. Breakthrough will come when Pakistan and India agree to resolve the dispute and move ahead.
“All that I expect is his (Bush’s) weight, his voice, pressurising all three groups: me, the Indians, and Kashmiris, to resolve the dispute now because now is the ideal time and ideal environment to resolve it.
“He (Bush) should put his weight behind it. And when I say weight really it means he must use all influence that we sit at the table and resolve the dispute.”
The interview was recorded in Islamabad on Feb 27 and released on Wednesday by the BBC News.
On Afghanistan, President Musharraf said Pakistan was taking all possible measures to prevent cross-border infiltration but added that there was a lot to be done on the Afghan side of the frontier.
“We are operating against them (infiltrators), we are taking all possible measures ... But to think, If President Karzai thinks, everything is happening from Pakistan, I totally disagree”.
“More is happening in Afghanistan itself, less is happening from Pakistan. We are trying to put our house in order, he should think of his own house, instead of keeping blaming Pakistan.”
The president said Pakistan had proposed fencing and mining the Pakistan-Afghan border to put an end to the blame game once and for all.
“Why don’t they (Afghans) agree to this, I’ve said this openly many times before, they don’t do it, for whatever are their reasons,” he added.
The president said there was total intelligence cooperation and operational coordination between Pakistan and the US in the war on terror.
However, he added, there was no coordination with regard to the recent Bajaur incident and Pakistan had raised the issue with the United States.
“Because the arrangement is that we operate on our side of the border, and the US and ISAF forces and Afghan forces operate on the Afghan side,” he added.
President Musharraf said what was required was to see how the two sides could enhance the intelligence cooperation through faster exchange and response “in the form of operating against targets that we get.”
Answering a question on the publication of blasphemous sketches, the president called for addressing the issue in a bigger way.
Pakistan, he added, was taking up the issue at the United Nations and at the OIC.
The president said there had to be some kind of law enacted at the UN where blasphemy against any prophet should be banned and rejected the excuses of freedom of press on the publication of blasphemous images.
“I say this because I know when people talk of freedom of press, when people in Europe talk of freedom of press, what about holocaust, why is holocaust discussion banned, where is freedom of press there?” he asked.
The president said that rules should not be applied in a selective manner, especially not wherever sensitivities of Muslims were involved.
“This is what creates all the trouble in the Muslim world, because they have come to realize that Islam and Muslims are targeted. Let the leadership of the world understand, this must be undone,” he added.
President Musharraf said the vast majority of the people of Pakistan supported his policies, including ties with the US.—APP