November 2005 News

Foreign Office keeps quiet on Mirwaiz’s plea to Nato

30 November 2005
The Dawn
Qudssia Akhlaque

Islamabad: Foreign Office on Wednesday remained tight-lipped on All Parties Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s call for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to ‘supervise demilitarization in Kashmir.’ “I’m not going to comment on any specific proposal,” was the response of Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam when asked if Pakistan would back such a proposal. She pointed out that Pakistan’s proposal of demilitarizing Kashmir had yet to get the green light from India. “If India accepts it, then modalities can be discussed,” she said. Ms Aslam refused to take any further questions on the subject. This is the first time that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has openly advocated a role for Nato in the final settlement of the longstanding Kashmir dispute. The APHC leader made the case in an article he wrote on the proposed demilitarization in Tuesday’s edition of Greater Kashmir, a local daily. He urged both India and Pakistan to demilitarize the region under Nato. “We appeal to Nato, which is already present in one part of Kashmir, to oversee the demilitarization on both sides of the Line of Control,” Mr Farooq wrote. Notably his call comes at a time when there is a large contingent of Nato in Azad Kashmir to carry out earthquake relief work. Also, when questions are being raised in Pakistan about the actual reason for Nato’s presence.


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