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  • Dec 8th, 2004
  • Comments Off on All macro-economic indicators positive, Pakistan ready to be flexible if India reciprocates: Musharraf
President General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday said Pakistan's economy was stable, vibrant and all macro-economic indicators were positive. He was addressing members of the British Parliament here at Westminster at the invitation of the Chairman of prestigious Foreign Relations Committee of the British Parliament. He said the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were hailing Pakistan as an economic success story.

The government, he said, was focused on the process of passing benefits of those achievements to the common people through completion of mega development projects. He said the government was following a concerted strategy to arrest poverty through provision of job opportunities.

Musharraf said Pakistan had not stepped back from its position on Kashmir but was prepared to be flexible if India showed reciprocity.

The President underscored flexibility had to come from both sides.

"Pakistan's message to Kashmiris is very clear that we will not let them down - I will never let them down," he told the august gathering of leading members from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

He emphasised a solution to the lingering Kashmir dispute would have to be acceptable to both Pakistan and India and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan, he stated, wanted Kashmiris to be part of the dialogue process with India.

Kashmir remained the core dispute between Pakistan and India, he said apprising the British MPs of confidence-building measures and the dialogue process for the resolution of outstanding disputes between Pakistan and India.

Musharraf also responded to a host of other questions relating to nuclear proliferation and situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

The issues of Kashmir and Palestine were ripe for solution now, he asserted while underlining the need to address the two long-standing disputes.

Replying to a question, he said Pakistan had adopted a very balanced foreign policy.

On Iraq, the President said there was need to speed up raising of Iraqi security forces, which would allow the exit strategy for the foreign forces. On the political side, he said election was the correct route. President Musharraf reiterated Pakistan's firm commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and said Islamabad had instituted a set of custodial controls and there was no possibility of nuclear proliferation at all.

"Proliferation will never take place," he said adding that Pakistan was strongly opposed to nuclear proliferation.

The President also informed the members of the influential British parliament about political restructuring and said the government had introduced a system of checks and balance on the power brokers in the form of National Security Council.

He said democracy in the past had become dysfunctional because there was no democracy at the grassroots level.

Musharraf said there was total freedom of speech and expression, and media today enjoyed unprecedented freedom.

On women empowerment, he said the government had empowered half of the country's population by giving them representation in all the elected houses. The minorities had also been empowered through joint electorate system.

He pointed out the Local Government System of Pakistan was being described by the World Bank as a silent revolution at the grassroots level.

The President said the father of the nation envisioned Pakistan as a progressive, moderate and democratic, Islamic state and believed in equal status.

The President said the minorities enjoyed rights in an ideological state of Pakistan.

Musharraf said Pakistan was facing challenges and confronting them to rid the society of terrorism, militancy and extremism.

He said vast majority of Pakistan was a moderate, and a fringe group of extremists was trying to dominate the vast majority.

"We are tackling extremism and militants with force and broken their back on the mountains and cleared the cities."

He emphasised the need for tackling extremism and terrorism with political approach in the long-term strategic perspective.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2004

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