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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Musharraf: I Will Not Initiate War

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf on Monday vowed not to start a war and condemned attacks in India as "terrorist attacks," but promised to maintain his nation's support for what he called Kashmir's "freedom struggle."

"We do not want war. Pakistan will not be the one to initiate war. We want peace in the region," Musharraf said in a televised speech to the nation.

However, he vowed continued "moral, political and diplomatic" support for an insurgency in Kashmir that has killed more than 60,000 people since it began in 1989 by militants demanding either independence for the Himalayan state or union with Islamic Pakistan.

Divided between the two South Asian neighbors, Kashmir has been the flashpoint of two previous wars and has again brought the two neighbors to the brink of another, possibly nuclear, war.

Musharraf said he has publicly condemned the attacks in December against India's Parliament and this month against an Indian army camp in Indian-ruled Kashmir as "terrorist attacks."

In his address to the nation, Musharraf said the same people who carried out the terrorist attacks in India conducted similar assaults in Pakistan -- attacking a church in the federal capital that was frequented by foreigners and a bus carrying French engineers, who were helping the Pakistan navy build a submarine.

He called for international pressure on India to open negotiations and reduce tensions along the border. He interrupted his Urdu-language speech to briefly speak in English, promising the international community Pakistan would not start a war and saying that Pakistan was not allowing cross-border incursions by militants into Indian-ruled Kashmir, a charge that has been leveled by India as well as several world leaders, including U.S. President George W. Bush.

Immediately following Musharraf's speech, Indian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said, "What you see is not what you get as far as Pakistan is concerned." She refused to elaborate or say more.

"I urge the world community to ask India to move toward normalization of relations," Musharraf said in an English-language plea.

He offered a formula, calling for a "de-escalation of tensions on the border, initiation of a process of dialogue, cessation of atrocities being perpetuated on the people of Kashmir, allowing international media and aid organization to enter Kashmir and see the situation on the ground." He also warned that Pakistan was ready to do battle if India launched an assault.

"Islam is a religion of peace, but if war is thrust upon us, every Muslim is bound to respond in kind. That is the kind of situation we face right now. We are being threatened with war," he said.

This weekend, Pakistan tested two missiles -- a medium-range and a short-range ballistic missile -- both capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads.