I wanted to walk out of Agra summit: Musharraf

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - 15:18

Islamabad: Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has said he wanted to walk out of the failed 2001 Agra summit but was dissuaded from doing so by a senior official.

His frustration, he told reporters in New York, stemmed from the fact that then Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had twice refused to include a reference to Kashmir in the joint declaration issued after the summit.

According to Musharraf, it was decided between him and Vajpayee that the joint declaration would say that Kashmir was a dispute between India and Pakistan and would be settled through political negotiations but the Indian prime minister backed out of it at the last moment.

A second draft of the joint declaration was prepared with some changes but Vajpayee backed out of that too, Musharraf said.

"I did not like it and wanted to leave right away but could not do so because of the advice of our foreign secretary," The News Tuesday quoted Musharraf as telling reporters in New York, where he is currently on a lecture tour.

"I also wanted to talk to the press about the issue but could not do so either as the press was not allowed to come to the hotel where I was staying and we were not allowed to go to the press due to security reasons," the former military dictator added.

Musharraf, who laid down office last year under an elaborate deal worked out between the Pakistani government, Saudi Arabia, the US and Britain, also sought to distance himself from the 2006 killing of Baloch leader Akbar Khan Bugti, saying he was not running the government but was only head of the state at the time.

He could not be accused of Bugti`s killing because there was a (Balochistan) chief minister, a prime minister and others who were running government affairs at that time, Musharraf maintained.

A case has been registered against Musharraf for his alleged role in the Bugti killing.

Others named in the first information report (FIR) are former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani, former interior minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Serpao and former Balochistan chief minister Jam Yousaf.

However, it is unclear how the police would proceed against Musharraf as he had ignored a Balochistan High Court order to appear before it Oct 7 for a hearing in the case. The court had then ordered that a FIR be registered against the former military dictator.

Musharraf had in July ignored a notice from the Pakistani Supreme Court to appear for a hearing against the emergency he had declared Nov 3, 2007. The court had July 31 declared the emergency unconstitutional.

A respected politician and former chief minister of Balochistan, Bugti was killed by the Pakistani Army Aug 26, 2006 during a massive military operation in the Bhambore Hills, an area between the cities of Kohlu and Dera Bugti in Balochistan.

He had gone into hiding earlier that year after Pakistani forces launched a crackdown on Baloch rebels after rockets were fired in December 2005 during Musharraf`s visit to Balochistan.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - 15:18

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