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DATE=7/14/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-251749 TITLE=PAKISTAN/KASHMIR (L-ONLY) BYLINE=AYAZ GUL DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= INTRO: PAKISTAN'S PRIME MINISTER, NAWAZ SHARIF, IS UNDER HEAVY CRITICISM AT HOME FOR PERSUADING ISLAMIC MILITANTS TO WITHDRAW FROM INDIAN TERRITORY IN KASHMIR. BUT OBSERVERS SAY THERE IS NO IMMINENT THREAT TO MR. SHARIF'S GOVERNMENT, BECAUSE HE HAS A LARGE MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT. AYAZ GUL REPORTS FROM ISLAMABAD THE OPPOSITION PARTIES HAVE PROVED INEFFECTIVE IN PINNING DOWN THE PRIME MINISTER ON HIS KASHMIR POLICY. TEXT: PRIME MINISTER NAWAZ SHARIF'S DECISION TO PULL-BACK ANTI-INDIA FIGHTERS FROM KASHMIR HAS RECEIVED WIDESPREAD CONDEMNATION IN PAKISTAN. THE CRITICISM MAINLY HAS COME FROM THE RIGHT-WING RELIGIOUS PARTIES AND THE KASHMIRI GROUPS WHO HAVE ACCUSED MR. SHARIF OF BETRAYING THE KASHMIR CAUSE. PAKISTAN HAS BEEN UNDER INTENSE INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE, PARTICULARLY FROM THE UNITED STATES, TO WITHDRAW THE PAKISTANI-BACKED FIGHTERS WHO SEIZED MOUNTAIN POSITIONS IN INDIAN KASHMIR. THE INCURSION IN EARLY MAY LED TO TENSIONS BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN THAT THREATENED TO ESCALATE INTO A FULL-SCALE WAR. THE PRESSURE LED THE PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER, AFTER TALKS WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON, TO PERSUADE THE GUERRILLAS TO LEAVE INDIAN TERRITORY. PROFESSOR KHALID MAHMOOD, OF PAKISTAN'S INSTITUTE OF REGIONAL STUDIES IN ISLAMABAD, SAYS MR. SHARIF HAS LOST FACE BECAUSE OF HIS DECISION -- BUT THERE IS NO RISK TO HIS GOVERNMENT. // MAHMOOD ACT // THERE IS A WIDE SPREAD RESENTMENT AGAINST IT. BUT I DO NOT SEE THE CHANCES OF A MASS UPHEAVAL. I PERSONALLY DO NOT SEE ANY THREAT TO NAWAZ SHARIF'S GOVERNMENT IN THE NEAR FUTURE. BUT I SUPPOSE THIS UNPOPULAR DECISION HAS CONSIDERABLY WEEKEND HIS POSITION AND HE HAS LOST FACE AMONG THE PEOPLE. BECAUSE PEOPLE SEE THIS ACCORD TO AS SOME PEOPLE WOULD SAY A SELL-OUT, THE OTHERS WOULD SAY THIS IS A PEACE WITHOUT HONOR OR THIS IS A PEACE ON INDIAN TERMS. // END ACT // THE WITHDRAWAL OF MUJAHIDIN FIGHTERS HAS ALSO PROMPTED A DEBATE IN PAKISTAN ABOUT WHETHER THE POLITICAL GOVERNMENT OR PAKISTAN'S MILITARY WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR STARTING THE LATEST CRISIS IN KASHMIR. BUT MR. MAHMOOD SAYS THE DEBATE IS IRRELEVANT NOW. // 2ND MAHMOOD ACT // WHOEVER WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS, THE POPULAR PERCEPTION IS THAT THE (PAKISTAN) GOVERNMENT GOT COLD FEET AND MOST PEOPLE THINK THAT IT WAS NOT BECAUSE OF THREAT OF WAR WITH INDIA THAT THE GOVERNMENT CHICKENED OUT, BUT IT WAS BECAUSE OF THE AMERICAN PRESSURE. // END ACT // PAKISTAN HAS BEEN SEEKING INTERNATIONAL MEDIATION OVER THE 50-YEAR OLD KASHMIR DISPUTE WITH INDIA. ISLAMABAD SAYS THE RECENT CRISIS IN THE REGION HAS FOCUSED THE WORLD ATTENTION ON THE ISSUE. ANALYSTS SAY THERE WILL NOW BE PRESSURE ON NEW DELHI, WHICH REFUSES TO ALLOW THIRD-PARTY MEDIATION, TO ACCEPT PAKISTAN'S OFFER OF TALKS ON KASHMIR. SINCE THE STATED POSITIONS ON KASHMIR OF BOTH INDIA AND PAKISTAN REMAIN UNCHANGED, MR. MAHMOOD SAYS CHANCES FOR A SOLUTION OF THE ISSUE IN THE NEAR FUTURE ARE NOT VERY BRIGHT. // MAHMOOD ACT // IF THE AGENDA FOR TALKS ACCORDING TO THE PAKISTANI POINT OF VIEW IS TO MOVE TOWARDS THE SETTLEMENT OF THE KASHMIR PROBLEM, I DO NOT SEE ANY POSSIBILITY OF A SOLUTION OF THE KASHMIR PROBLEM. BECAUSE INDIA IS NOT GOING TO ACCEPT ANY OF YOUR (PAKISTANI) TERMS. THOUGH APPARENTLY WE GO TOWARDS THE CONFERENCE TABLE, BUT I DO NOT SEE THE POSSIBILITY OF THE RESUMPTION OF A MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN IN THE NEAR FUTURE. A KIND OF STALEMATE WILL PERSIST (ON KASHMIR). /// END ACT /// INDIA CONTROLS MOST OF KASHMIR AND CALLS IT AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE COUNTRY. PAKISTAN DISPUTES THIS CLAIM AND SAYS THE PEOPLE IN THE MOSTLY-MUSLIM REGION SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE BETWEEN JOINING INDIA OR PAKISTAN UNDER A U-N SPONSORED PLEBISCITE. THE KASHMIR DISPUTE HAS LED TO TWO WARS BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN SINCE THE PARTITION OF BRITISH INDIA IN 1947. (SIGNED) NEB/AG/RAE 14-Jul-99 11:13 AM EDT (1513 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .