Turning a new leaf, former Pakistan president, Pervez Musharraf – the man behind the Kargil war – on Saturday urged India and Pakistan to shrug off their historical burden and move towards lasting peace, Musharraf was addressing a conclave organized by the India Today group of publications in New Delhi.
Calling for, perhaps, a similar “attitudinal change” among people and governments for better relations, he exhorted the neighbours to strive to combat common problems like extremism and terrorism.
“We must overcome the burden of history and move forward. The path of peace is the right course to adapt for India, Pakistan, the region and the world,” said Musharraf in his address.
“We have to resolve Kashmir. Kashmir remains a key dispute. The resolution of dispute means give and take,” Musharraf said.
“The political leaderships of both countries must grasp the fleeting opportunity and bring peace to the region. These opportunities are not going to be there all the time,” he said.
“There is an emotional involvement of Pakistan people with people of Kashmir. Therefore, this has given rise to dozens of freelance Mujahideen groups and increasing militancy in Pakistan society, said Musharraf.
“It certainly needs to be controlled but the task of controlling these groups is very difficult and dispute resolution is the only permanent solution. We must go for it,” he said. “We have to show the courage to reconcile and compromise.”
“We should also address the core issues of terrorism and extremism together. We have to have a clear and realistic understanding of the root causes of terrorism. Addressing the root causes of terrorism holds the key,” he said while implying that terror incidents in the region may have been brought on by unresolved disputes between the nieghbours.
“We have to adopt a holistic approach to eliminating terrorism and extremism.
He urged the two nations to exhibit courage and wisdom and called on India to show magnanimity and humility “to write a new chapter in peace and mutually beneficial cooperation” and added that India could not be “a large country with a small heart.”
“I stand for peace, for the sake of the whole world which considers our region a nuclear flashpoint. I stand for peace in the South Asian region where progress and development is tied to harmony between India and Pakistan,” he said.
“I stand for peace for the sake of our future generations to whom we owe a better life and a better environment,” he said.