India-Pak talks being held under duress from US: Hamid Gul

     He has been referred to as the 'man who knows too much'. A former ISI chief, India and US hater, there are many epithets attached with Hamid Gul's name. Gul said the India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary level talks which were held in Islamabad yesterday and the Foreign Ministerial level talks next month "are being held under American pressure." Completely dismissing any claims of the Indian or Pakistani government that the talks are being held to bridge the trust deficit between the two nuclear neighbours, Gul said: "These talks are delusional in nature. There can be no peace between the two countries till India decides to give freedom of choice to the people of Kashmir. India's strategic disorientation is not conducive to peace in the region." While India and Pakistan take hesitant steps towards building a better relationship, there are strident voices on both sides of the border which say that it is a futile exercise because the civilian government of Pakistan is quite powerless when it comes to taking decisions on foreign policy. Gul said that the only way talks could succeed is if the first step taken is "giving the democratic rights of Kashmiris and that includes Kashmiris both sides of the border. "India tum jhooth bolna chor do (India stop lying India). There is deficiency in faith. India does not want to talk peace. It is doing it against its will. Masla hai Kashmir ka (the issue is Kashmir). Who is India to decide for Kashmiris? Neither Pakistan nor India has any right to talk on behalf of Kashmiris. They should decide for themselves and till that happens all this talk about India-Pakistan peace is all nonsense," he said. Gul had nothing positive to say even about any future cooperation in information sharing between India and Pakistan to curb the menace of terrorism. It is probably hard to expect it of the man who is said to have tipped off Osama bin Laden about an impending US crackdown after 9/11. Counter-terrorism expert and former US government adviser Richard Clarke had told The New Yorker: "I have reason to believe that a retired head of the ISI was able to pass information along to Al Qaeda that an attack was coming' and this led Osama Bin Laden to flee into the caves to escape detection. According to Gul, there is no way that Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) Chief Hafeez Sayeed can be prosecuted by a Pakistani court. He said that the evidence provided by India can hardly be termed that, and added that New Delhi should never have rejected the offer of a joint investigation after the Mumbai blasts. "That would have helped in solving the case," Gul said.

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