Khokhar: No Need For J&K Mediation
30 June 2004
The Asian Age
Islamabad: In a departure of sorts from its stated position, Pakistan on Wednesday asserted there was no need for third-party mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue with India as talks between the two countries on it were on. 'Pakistan is not asking for any mediation. It is not necessary,' Pakistan foreign secretary Riaz Khokhar told PTV in a brief interview on the sidelines of the ARF in Jakarta on Wednesday. On the talks with his Indian counterpart Shashank on June 27 and 28 in New Delhi, Mr Khokhar said the two sides made 'modest progress' and decided to continue the dialogue to resolve Kashmir and other issues. Mr Khokhar's assertion that mediation is not necessary is a departure of sorts from the previously held position of Pakistan, which wanted third-party mediation by the US, UN or by EU countries. Pakistan was admitted into the ARF after India withdrew its objections in return for an assurance from Islamabad that it would not raise the Kashmir issue at the forum. Meanwhile, Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, who has retained his portfolio in the new government headed by Chaudhury Shujaat Hussain, rushed to Jakarta on Wed-nesday evening after taking the oath of office.