Washington: By omitting Pakistan from the itinerary of his current trip to Asia, starting with India, President Barack Obama has shown that the US is "not sensitive" to the sentiments of Pakistani people, former president Pervez Musharraf has said.
Disappointed that Obama would not be visiting Pakistan during the trip, Musharraf has also conceded that the US President is unlikely to take up the issue of Kashmir during his meetings with the Indian leaders.
"I would take it as a disappointment, yes, indeed." This reflects that the US president is not sensitive to the sentiments of the people of Pakistan, Musharraf, the former military ruler who stepped down in 2008, told MSNBC television.
"I don`t think there is going to be any talk about Kashmir. So in the overall context, I think it doesn`t resonate well with the people of Pakistan, where they take it that the United States or the President of the United States is not that concerned about Pakistan`s own sensitivities and interests," Musharraf said.
"I know one does understand that visiting India is a bilateral issue between the United States and India, and one wouldn`t be overly Indo-centric in approach.”
"But our concern, as a Pakistani, certainly within Pakistan, isn`t Pakistan an important player in the region? It is in the front role fighting terrorism. It`s a strategic partner towards fighting al Qaeda and Taliban towards eradication of terrorism," he said.
Obama has invited Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari for a future visit to the US and also announced that he would travel to Pakistan next year.
"...then also another important issue, Kashmir is a sensitive issue with Pakistanis. In fact, the world ought to be concerned that Kashmir dispute, without solving Kashmir dispute, it is leading to extremism within our society. There are a number of mujaheddin groups which have emerged who want to go and support their Indian brethren.... So we have to resolve the Kashmir dispute. And this is what I have been always saying," he said.
"Terrorism, al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan, in the tribal agencies of Pakistan, the mujaheddin in fighting in Kashmir, extremism in the Muslim youth on the rise in India, with extremism in our society, in Pakistan society, all of them are developing a nexus. And now it`s international connotation," he said.
Musharraf said the Army and the government in Pakistan are doing their best to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban.
"I`m not really privy to the tactical details of the operations, but at the strategic level, I do understand the commitment of the Army, of the military and the government towards defeating al Qaeda and Taliban is certainly there," he said.