No deadlock in Indo-Pak talks: FO
* Govt spokesman calls Manmohan Singh’s words ‘encouraging’
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan on Monday termed the statement by newly-appointed Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh “encouraging” and said that Pakistan wants to maintain the momentum of the peace process between the two countries.
On the status of the peace process after the killing of Indian soldiers near Srinagar, postponement of talks on nuclear confidence building measures and the killing of three Pakistan fishermen by the Indian Navy, Mr Khan said there was no deadlock in the dialogue process between India and Pakistan.
He said the confidence building talks on nuclear issues have been postponed because of the proper reasons given by India.
He said the talks on nuclear issues and the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service were not more important than the issue of Kashmir and peace and security in the region. He said these issues would be discussed at the foreign secretary level and ultimately by the foreign ministers.
He said Pakistan and India were not going to initiate talks on the nuclear issue from scratch. They had done some homework previously and the talks would start from the latest position, he said.
Mr Khan called incorrect a statement by Mir Waiz Umer Farooq that President Pervez Musharraf backed the Maulana Ansari-led All Parties Hurriyat Conference group to hold talks with former deputy prime minister of India LK Advani,
“Pakistan desires that the APHC form a common platform and resolve its differences to evolve a joint strategy for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. Syed Ali Gillani and other leaders have made tremendous contributions,” he said. He said Pakistan was concerned about the deaths of innocent Iraqis and the desecration of holy shrines. “This is something which must be stopped immediately,” he said.
To another question, he said the conditions of the Commonwealth were unwarranted, unnecessary and uncalled for and Pakistan would not accept any external conditionalities. He said Pakistan was monitoring the situation on a new proposed resolution on Iraq.
“Elements of the new resolution are currently being discussed at the United Nations, like the end of occupation, nature and mandate of a new multi-lateral force and Pakistan has not given any response. We will take a position when the final shape of the resolution emerges,” he said.
He said Pakistan welcomes the decision to lift its suspension from the Commonwealth, but it was long overdue and a decision in this regard should have been taken immediately after the general elections.
He said 17th Amendment to the Constitution was an internal issue of Pakistan. It has been resolved amicably by the political forces according to the aspirations and wishes of the people of Pakistan and the Commonwealth has nothing to do with this.
He said Pakistan has a good record of moving forward towards democracy while there are a number of countries in the Commonwealth that do not have high standards of democracy.
Responding to questions about raising regional issues at the Association of South East Asian Nations regional forum, the spokesman said Pakistan will not raise the Kashmir issue at that forum as there are many other forums to discus this issue.
To a question about US troop incursions in the tribal area, he said we do not want to aggravate the situation and want to resolve the issue with mutual consultations as Pakistan and the United States are partners of the coalition in the war against terrorism.
He said that local commanders of both sides are meeting today (Tuesday) to find way to stop future incursions.
The spokesman said Pakistan’s High Commission in Delhi is in touch with the Indian authorities for the release of innocent Pakistani fishermen and the return of the dead bodies of three fishermen. He said the Indian government had assured Pakistan of cooperation in the return of the bodies on Wednesday.
The spokesman said Pakistan condemns the killing of innocent Palestinians by the Israeli forces and he described it as violation of international laws and all human rights instruments. staff report