Vajpayee Rebukes Musharraf, Takes New Stand On Peace Talks

United Nations, Sept 25: | Updated: Sep 26 2003, 05:30am hrs
In one of the strongest attacks on Pakistan, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday termed President Pervez Musharrafs offer of cessation of violence in Kashmir as an admission of sponsoring terrorism and bluntly told him India would not negotiate with terrorism or allow it to become a tool of blackmail. In a virtual new position, he said India can have a dialogue with Pakistan on the other issues when cross-border terrorism stops or when we can eradicate it. Hitting back at Mr Musharraf, who has been raking up the Kashmir issue in various platforms here, Mr Vajpayee, in his address to the UN General Assembly, said the Pakistani leader on Wednesday chose this August assembly to make a public admission for the first time that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism in J&K.

After claiming that there is an indigenous struggle in Kashmir, he has offered to encourage a general cessation of violence within Kashmir, in return for reciprocal obligations and restraints. We totally refuse to let terrorism become a tool of blackmail just as the world did not negotiate with Al Qaeda or the Taliban, we shall not negotiate with terrorism, Mr Vajpayee said. He said negotiating with terrorism would be betraying the people of J&K who defied a most ferocious campaign of violence and intimidation sponsored from across the borders and participated in elections universally hailed as free and fair.