US lawmakers discuss Kashmir, Afghanistan with Pakistan's Musharraf
ISLAMABAD, Feb 22 (AFP) - A US Congressional delegation Thursday held talks with Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf focusing on the situation in Kashmir and Afghanistan, officials said.
The bipartisan delegation which includes David Bonier and Jim McDermott both Democracts, and Joseph Pitts, a Republican, arrived Wednesday after a four-day visit to India.
A foreign ministry statement said various aspects of Pakistan-US relations were raised.
The US lawmakers discussed "latest developments in Kashmir and issues of regional peace and security as well as current developments in Afghanistan following the imposition of UN sanctions," it said.
Musharraf, who came to power in a military coup in October 1999, briefed the delegation on his government's reform agenda and steps being taken to restore democracy, it said.
The delegation met Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar before leaving for Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistan controlled zone of Kashmir, to visit the dividing Line of Control in Kashmir, officials said.
The official Associated Press of Pakistan said the purpose of the visit was to initiate a dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
"We met with several leaders in India urging them to ceasefire and take some other positive steps," it quoted Joseph Pitts as saying.
A 12-year old insurgency has rocked Indian-controlled Kashmir claiming 34,000 lives since 1989.
India, blaming Pakistan for the insurgency, refuses to hold a dialogue until the so-called "cross-border terrorism" is stopped.
Pakistan denies the allegation and insists the uprising is a legitimate and indigenous struggle for the Kashmiris' right to self-determination.
Militant separatists across Kashmir have dismissed India's latest extension of ceasefire in Kashmir as a propoganda stunt.
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