India, Pak were close to deal on Kashmir: Mush

Former Pak ruler notes that deadlock on Kashmir was rendering SAARC useless.

New York: Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Friday said India and Pakistan were "moving forward towards drafting an agreement" on Kashmir during his tenure and that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was genuinely committed to peace in the region.

"I was certainly trying for it [peace]. And we were reaching success. I have always praised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [of India] for his sincerity to reach peace," said Musharraf, in an interview with NPR.

"And we almost reached peace on all the three issues...the third one, Kashmir, we had made some certain parameters and we were moving forward towards drafting an agreement," he added.

"Unfortunately, that was not to be, but I tried my best."

Noting that peace is the only way forward, Musharraf noted that the deadlock on Kashmir was rendering the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) useless.

"And I think the way forward is peace for the sake of world, which thinks that this is a nuclear flash point; for the sake of SAARC, which is impotent because of the conflict because of India and Pakistan," said the former president.

"And for the sake of bilateral Pakistan-India advantages, socio-economic advantages which will flow from peace between the two countries," he noted.

Musharraf is in the US to drum up support for his comeback, which he announced earlier this year by launching a new political party -- the All Pakistan Muslim League – that would contest elections in 2013.

Earlier this week, he accused India of trying to create an "anti-Pakistan Afghanistan”.

"If I`m allowed to be very, very frank, India`s role in Afghanistan is to create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan,” said Musharraf, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday.

Today, he characterised the narrative of the Indo-Pak dispute as "impartial".

"So, unfortunate reality, why I have to be so emotional about it, is every time it is Pakistan who is a rogue," he said.

"Indian bomb is not a Hindu bomb. Pakistan bomb is an Islamic bomb. I think we are being very impartial, we are being very unfair to Pakistan..."


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