August 2003 News

Kashmir solution impossible without Pakistan: FO

25 August 2003
The Daily Times
Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday warned there could be no lasting solution to the Kashmir dispute without its active participation and explicit support of any settlement. Asked to comment on Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's attempts to talk directly to the Kashmiri leaders, Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan said at his weekly news briefing in Islamabad, 'Pakistan is a party to the Kashmir dispute and cannot be excluded from any arrangement.' The spokesman said New Delhi must show seriousness in initiating dialogue with Pakistan and Kashmiris. He also deplored Monday's Mumbai blasts and reiterated that Pakistan condemns all acts of terrorism. He expressed Pakistan's sympathies for the families of the blast victims. About the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman's reported intention to talk directly to India, the spokesman said Maulvi Abbas Ansari himself had clarified that his statement had been misrepresented by the Indian media. 'Mr Ansari has declared that he did not make any such statement,' Mr Khan said.The spokesman categorically denied the killing of any Pakistani soldier on the Line of Control (LoC). Six civilians were killed by the Indian firing on Saturday, he said.About the circumstances that led Pakistan to write to the United Nations Security Council and inform the world body about India's failure to resume talks on Kashmir, he said Kashmir is on the agenda of the United Nations. He said the Security Council needs to be informed about developments in South Asia. He said the basic theme of the letter was that the security environment in South Asia is still very fragile and volatile. The spokesman said an Indian delegation would arrive in Pakistan today (Tuesday) for talks on air links. 'Air links and overflight rights might not automatically be restored after talks on the issue this week,' he said.He said the Indian foreign secretary was trying to mix up the issues of air links and the Samjhota Express. He pointed out that in January 2002, India suddenly decided to suspend flights and Pakistan now wanted some mechanism to prevent the recurrence of such unilateral decisions in the future. He hoped India would not reject Pakistan's offer and the two countries would hold talks on rail links in the second half of next month. About the expulsion of a Pakistani embassy employee by the Nepalese government on charges of possessing fake currency, the spokesman said it was a deliberate attempt to damage relations between the two countries. He said the Pakistani ambassador was never shown any evidence of fake currency. He said a couple of days ago two Indian businessmen were caught by Nepalese authorities after fake Indian currency was found on them. The allegations against the Pakistani embassy employee were an attempt to put pressure on Pakistan, he maintained.The spokesman said relations between Pakistan and Nepal were based on solid foundations and cannot be undermined by such incidents. He expressed surprise at the India government's suggestion to Nepal that the staff of the Pakistan embassy in Kathmandu be reduced. He pointed out that the Indian embassy in Kathmandu had over 300 staff while Pakistan had a skeleton staff. About the excessive Indian diplomatic staff in Afghanistan, he said Pakistan was concerned about the activities of the Indian consulate, particularly those directed against Pakistan and aimed at disrupting relations between Islamabad and Kabul. Commenting on a report about a meeting between a member of the Iraqi Governing Council and Prime Minister Jamali in Saudi Arabia, he said it was a 'chance meeting' after prayers and no substantive discussions took place.He said Pakistan had not received any request from the Iraqi Governing Council for a visit to Pakistan by its members or deployment of our troops in that country. He said Pakistan would send troops to Iraq only if conditions were ripe and under a UN cover.When a Chinese journalist asked for a comment on Taiwan's decision to issue its own passports, he said Pakistan was fully committed to 'one-China policy' and considered Taiwan an inalienable part of China. He said no visa would be given on passports issued by the Taiwan government. To a question about the recent Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, the spokesman said Pakistan was watching the Middle East situation and any decision would be made keeping in view Palestinian rights and the implementation of the US peace roadmap. He denied any contacts between Israeli and Pakistani diplomats as claimed by a documentary prepared in London.


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