The Agra Breakfast

Print edition : March 02, 2002
1. Centrality of Kashmir

"Let's not remain in any illusion that the main issue confronting us is Kashmir... That is the reality on the ground whether we like it or not."

2. Need for compromise:

"If we keep sticking to our own positions rigidly we cannot move for

ward. So, therefore there is a degree of flexibility, open-mindedness, understanding of each other's problems, that is the pre-requisite for any forward movement."

3. Shimla & Lahore Accords: No question on this point was asked in Agra. 4. Issues other than Kashmir:

"Can we equally today start on something which is to do with non-

Kashmir, also in action?

A. "Yes, certainly. Again I reiterate, absolutely. We can address all issues, having identified the main issue but then another suspicion in Pakistan is that they always involve us in other issues, brushing the main issues aside and then start leading others. This happened with Dr. Mahboob-ul-Haque. He came here with President Zia.... All issues must make progress. You cannot, no leader in Pakistan can allow the sidelining of Kashmir for the sake of economy and confidence building and nuclear and everything. They have to progress in tandem. There has to be a relationship to keep progressing on all issues together."

5. The process for a a solution:

Let's go step by step. Step one was the initiation of the dialogue and

again I would like to give all the credit to Prime Minister Vajpayee for his statesmanship, for having invited me... Now step two. I feel this acceptance that Kashmir is an issue, it must be resolved, and may I say when I say it must be resolved obviously there are three parties to it. It is Pakistan, India and also Kashmiris... So this acceptance of the main issue is step two. One can then, after entering into dialogue, move further... maybe at the step two one could negate certain solutions if possible. Obviously national consensus will be required. Can we negate certain solutions that these are not the solutions? Would one keep saying stated positions and all that, let's leave this... in the area that we are left with, are the possibilities. So, I think these are the steps. Step one we have taken. Step two, I would say, can be taken today. Step three can be taken later and step four will be more later.

6. Terrorist violence in Kashmir:

Q: "Is your commitment to the absence of violence or the non-use

of violence conditional upon progress or are you committed to a non-use of violence irrespective of whether we hear good news in four hours or not?"

A. That is. We are not encouraging any violence in Kashmir. This is an indigenous freedom struggle going on. You keep calling it terrorism and violence. We in Pakistan, keep calling it a freedom struggle. Who is right, who is wrong? We keep saying that there are atrocities and repression against the civilians by the Indian army of over 600,000 people. So where do we land up? Yes, these are issues which must be addressed. These issues, I am sure, and all the issues, whether it is the repression by the Indian forces which we say and the cross border terrorism which is always mentioned from this side. In tandem everything proceeds further with the progress on Kashmir. That is how I feel because I am sure the progress on Kashmir will certainly have its effects, and indirect effects, on whatever is happening in Kashmir."

Q: "In order to stop the bloodshed whether the Government of Pakistan will take initiative or not? This is the basic concern of the media.

A: "Exactly, this is the whole thing. Tell me about the bloodshed, on both sides as a result of which army men are being killed, civilians are being killed. Can this be stopped? Why is this happening? This is happening because of the Kashmir dispute. Can anyone expect this bloodshed to stop and yet expect the Kashmir dispute to stay intact. Is this realistic? Ok. Ok. I am saying this so that it should end. It should end, absolutely... But it will end only when we will go hand in hand, expand the issues and go towards a solution."

7. The Nuclear Question: No question was asked on this topic in Agra.

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