Saturday, 3 October 2015

QOTD: Mushahid Hussain

Dug up these old articles by Mushahid Hussain. These should be preserved for posterity.

First up his press conference after Nawaz Sharifs Kargil dash to meet Clinton in 1999,

taken from the Nation Newspaper

Washington Accord a 'giant leap forward' on Kashmir 
LAHORE-The Federal Information Minister and the chief government spokesman Mushahid Hussain Sayed attributes the recent Washington Accord between President Clinton and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a "great leap forward" in internationalising the Kashmir issue.
Speaking at a forum held by The Nation/Nawa-i-Waqt , he came out with a strong defence of the recent initiative of the government and its policies and claimed the logical outcome of it was that, "Kashmir was no longer a status quo issue." From its simmering, dormant position, the recent Kargil conflict has made it erupt like a real volcanic issue which calls for its urgent permanent solution, he declared.
What more positive proof of Kashmir being a live real issue can be had when it has emerged as the main election issue in the current Indian elections, and even encompassing the US to become involved publicly in its amicable solution.
He termed the Indian stance reharding US as a "posture" for public consumption while in fact already some headway has been made in the new emerging policy based on the recent accord and its implications. He also rejected that any compromise has been made on Pakistan's stand on Kashmir or its position to lend moral, diplomatic support to the Kashmiri Mujahideen. The "Kargil conflict", he maintained, was symptomatic to the real issue, which if not resolved, would continue to re-surface and emerge through many more conflicts at other places throughout the Kashmir Valley. Following is the text of Mushahid Hussain's statement at the forum.
Federal Information Minister Mushahid Hussain credits Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with steering the country out of every crisis faced during his tenure. He declared that never before any government had faced so many problems and serious issues and managed to come out of them with success as the present government.
Many governments in the past may have come across serious issues but none faced such a multi-pronged attack of problems like financial, constitutional, political, diplomatic and even national security issues as the present government did and faced at so manfully.
He claimed that each crisis was tackled by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who he said, was quite different from the past leaders. He is not a leader of 'status quo' but with a 'revolutionary agenda' and has been able to get the country through each 'turbulence' with his uncanny ability and guts. Let us face it, the Minister said, that if any leader takes such bold initiatives like making Pakistan a nuclear power, bring about constitutional amendments to strengthen democracy, and moves for the upholding of rule of law, it is inevitable that his path would be paved with resistance. But quite undeterred by such obstacles the present government has managed to navigate the country through record number of crises faced during their two and half years tenure so far, and all through a democratic process. Replying to the question asked about the handling of the recent 'Kargil issue', he said if read carefully the joint statement issued after President Clinton's meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Kashmir issue has been "internationalised", as a result of it. He said that there was no compromise on this issue of national importance in any way as the appeal for the return of Mujahideen was confined only to Kargil Sector. As far as the independence struggle of Mujahideen was concerned in Kashmir, Pakistan not only considers it legitimate but will continue its moral, diplomatic support like before. importantly, he said the accord was able to defuse the situation and the looming threat of an Indo-Pak war was averted. The Minister did not agree with the assessment that there was a visible tilt by the US towards India, and claimed there have been stepping up of activities in the US in support of Pakistan's position on the Kashmir issue. Indians, he said, had already accepted the US mediation in the matter practically. He explained that one must be careful to see through what was "posturing" by the Indians to its actual policy, as for all intent and purpose they have accepted the policy of mediation.
Mushahid made it clear that until the Kashmir issue is solved according to the aspirations of its people conflicts like Kargil, would keep emerging. Today it is Kargil, tomorrow it may be Baramula, or elsewhere in the Valley. Through Kargil, he said, a clear message has been conveyed loud and clear to the world that Kashmir issue is crying for a just and an equatable solution.
The Minister also spoke about the massive and negative propaganda launched by the Indian media against Pakistan grossly falsifying the facts. However, he said, some leading newspapers of India too have come out with objective reports contrary to the official line of the Indian government. Replying to the criticism being directed at the PTV for its inability to rise to the occasion, he countered that if it was so poor why was it jammed and shut down to the Indian viewers by their government. Such a step is unheard of and not even former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany never stooped to such a position which has been taken by India. The stirring up of the war hysteria, he felt, suited the BJP, who effectively used the situation for its election campaign. As against it Pakistan all along has sought peace and the just solution of the chronic problem of Kashmir.
Mushahid said that Indian army was in fact battling against Kashmiri Mujahideen with the Pakistan Army defending the Line of Control, its international frontiers and its air space.
Asked about the diplomatic failure on the Kargil issue, the Minister explained that main brunt of the diplomacy was faced by the ambassadors and the mainstream diplomats with the Ministry of Information and its nominees providing the supporting role. He felt there was a need to beef up the embassies and overall diplomatic effort especially in some key areas where weaknesses existed at present. He conceded that some embassies had shown an absence of professionalism in the crisis. However, he refused to answer questions pinpointed at the utter failure and poor performance shown by the Pakistan embassies in US and UK, whose heads have been under fire by the national Press for poor showing.
Replying to another question he said that unlike India which failed to call a session of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House). Pakistan promptly summoned sessions of both the National Assembly and the Senate and arranged a thorough briefing by Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz. The Opposition was also included in the 'in camera' briefing and the Foreign Minister answered 200 questions to satisfy the members of the Houses, which resulted in unanimous resolutions in support of the government.
Mushahid Hussain said that Kashmir has emerged as the main issue in the current election campaign in India, which is proof enough of our stand that it remains as the core issue in the way of permanent and lasting peace in the Sub-continent. On top of it, Washington has been included in the process of solving Kashmir problem, something which never happened before.
Turning to India, Mushahid said that there are over 17 major movements and armed insurgencies raging across India, spearheaded by Kashmir as by far the biggest one. What is most important that most of these movements have expressed solid support to Kashmiri people, which was a testimony to the success of our Kashmir policy. Defending the government's Kargil policy, which has been widely opposed by various Opposition parties, he said, it was the statesmanship and success of the present government which saw the country through a grave crisis, gave it a new dimension and brought relief to the people by averting a looming war. Under the present circumstances, what else the people could expect from its government, he posed.
The Minister asked about the slanderous campaign launched by the Indians against the Pakistan Armed Forces through paid advertisements in US, said it was not necessary to respond in the same fashion. It is not necessary to answer a $100,000 ad with an ad on the same scale. But, we did take steps to counter it through a vigorous campaign of our own placing articles, write-ups and lobbying at the appropriate levels and other means. In the US a committee consisting of prominent Pakistanis like Dr Nasim Ashraf, Dr Maqsud Shah and Dr Pervez Shah, were in the forefront of a lobbying effort which interfaced with Senators and Congressmen and were able to achieve credible results.
Asked about the vibrations coming out of the PML(N) lately with some prominent members expressing voices of dissent, he said, theirs was a democratic political party. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he said, had implicit faith in democratic process and had the patience and capacity to tolerate and face divergent views. He has been sitting for hours at various forums to listen to the views and suggestions, even criticism, which he feels helps in strengthening the democratic process. The Minister was of the view that there was nothing seriously wrong to come across with strong voices of dissent from prominent party stalwarts which have appeared lately in the media.
The Information Minister and the main government spokesman, also ruled out that the Prime Minister was averse to confiding with his partymen on major issues and facing divergent views. Quite contrary to it, he said, the PM was all the time consulting his partymen and had also held consultations with his party colleagues before proceeding to the US recently. He also said that the proposal of National Security Council had been aired by only one person and at the party meeting no one either supported it or raised it.
Replying to another question about the confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan, he said it was a two-way process. Under the Simla Accord Pakistan and India had only met twice and without any tangible results. India, he strongly felt, needs to move under the recognised international principles to resolve the Kashmir issue. However, he was convinced that the recent events and importantly the Kargil conflict, more than anything else, has proved Kashmir was no more a "status quo issue" a position which Indians held so steadfastly all these years.
Mushahid Hussain also paid tributes to the role of the "Nawa-i-Waqt and The Nation", and notably the efforts of Mr Majid Nizami and Arif Nizami, in safeguarding ideological frontiers of the country.

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