November 2005 News

India is considering demilitarisation: FO

2 November 2005
The Daily Times
Staff Report

Islamabad: Pakistan is optimistic that India is willing to consider Islamabad's proposal for the demilitarisation of Kashmir, the Foreign Office said on Wednesday.Reports from New Delhi indicate that India is willing to consider Pakistan's demilitarisation proposal, Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told a press briefing. 'This is a positive indication. If India agrees to the idea, then the two countries can have discussions to work out details,' she said.Aslam said Pakistan had asked India to share the evidence it has, if any, about the 'foreign links' in the New Delhi bomb blasts so Islamabad can take action against those responsible.Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had told President General Pervez Musharraf over the phone that preliminary investigations pointed to the possibility of foreign involvement in the blasts. 'The president assured the Indian prime minister of Pakistan's full cooperation in the investigations,' she said. The spokeswoman said arrangements had been put in place to implement the understanding reached between Pakistan and India for the opening of five crossing points on the Line of Control (LoC) from November 7. She said this would be a big step for Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC, as it would make it easier for them to meet each other and share their grief following the devastating earthquake of October 8. About the mechanism, she said it would be the same as adopted for the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service.Asked whether it would be practicable for people living along the LoC in the present circumstances to get permission to visit the other side, the spokeswoman said Pakistan had originally proposed that any document of identity be acceptable. 'However, this was not agreed to by India.' Aslam said it was wrong to say NATO had sent its forces to Pakistan. 'These are teams of engineers and doctors who have come here to render assistance in relief operations. They will help repair roads and rebuild infrastructure,' she said, adding that they would be in Pakistan for an initial period of three months.She said many countries including the United States were assisting in handling the crisis caused by the earthquake. Turkey, Iran and the United Kingdom were among the first countries to have come to Pakistan's aid. Saudi Arabia, she said, had pledged financial assistance of $133 million and, at the initiative of the Saudi king, an entire week had been dedicated to collecting contributions for earthquake victims. Cuba had sent 300 doctors to Pakistan.She confirmed that a Pakistani delegation was being sent to Gaza and the West Bank. 'Originally, the delegation was to embark on the visit sometime this month. It might be delayed as in the wake of the earthquake foreign visits are being reviewed.'


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