Kashmir issue taught me 3 key things: Musharraf

Last Updated: Sunday, January 8, 2012 - 14:51

Jerusalem: Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat`s concern of losing political clout among his populace and Israel`s arrogance hindered the Middle East peace process, Pakistan`s former president General Pervez Musharraf has said.

Musharraf said from his involvement in talks with India on Kashmir, he had learnt three key things that are required to solve any dispute and these are also applicable for the resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

"There are three things needed. One, sincerity on both sides, of head and heart. No bluff game and no politics. Two, flexibility to accept the views of others. And three is the key - boldness and courage. I say this is key because in any deal you cannot take everything. The other side will not allow this. You have to give and take," said the former Pakistani leader in his first interview to an Israeli daily, Ha`aretz, published over the weekend.

"Leaders are afraid of that `give` because they are afraid of the backlash in their own backyard, but as long as you are convinced that the positives outweigh the negatives, you must be bold. And, as a leader, for the sake of the bigger good, you must make the right move, even if you lose on a personal note. Leadership demands sacrifice and courage," he added.

"Arafat did not take certain steps, as I understand it, because he was afraid of threats to him, personally, upon his return [from Camp David]. If you are more concerned with your own political clout or personal safety than you are with the gain accrued to your people and the whole Muslim world, then there is some weakness in yourself as a leader," said Musharraf, who once offered to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians.

His contentions were similar to that reiterated by Israel at various forums accusing Arafat of backtracking from making peace even though the Jewish state was willing to make unprecedented compromises at Camp David in 2000.

The former Pakistan president did not spare the Israeli leadership also.

"I mean both sides. Israel should not expect everything to be hunky-dory, with no attacks and no bullet fire. You will never get that. This guerrilla warfare will continue, and then settle down gradually. But you cannot expect there to be no Hamas and no Hezbollah and no rockets at all," he observed.

"And the government should not be arrogant either. Humility works - never arrogance. Humility does not clash with strength. You can be strong and humble at the same time. Humility has to do with behaviour, with interaction," Musharraf said criticising the Israeli attitude in the talks.

General Musharraf had extended several overtures towards Israel seeking normalisation of ties and even offered to mediate in the Israel-Palestinian conflict as the president of Pakistan.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 8, 2012 - 10:13

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