No rolling back N-programme: Kasuri
* ‘No one can guarantee US will not backtrack from its promises’
KARACHI: Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri reiterated Pakistan’s stand on Monday that it would not rollback its nuclear programme claiming that the country’s nuclear assets were fully protected under a “perfect” and “multi-layered” control system.
Kasuri said the Indian government had endangered the peace talks between the two countries by constructing the Baglihar dam in violation of the Indus Water Treaty. He also said that Pakistan was supporting US policies in Iraq and Afghanistan “for the betterment of national interests.”
Kasuri was delivering a lecture on “Pakistan’s foreign policy -strategies for a new world” at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA). IBA Director Prof Danishmand, Dr Talat Wizarat, the Karachi University’s International Relations Department chairperson, and the department’s former chairperson Dr Khalida Ghous also spoke on the occasion.
Justifying action against Dr AQ Khan, Kasuri said it was taken to show the world that Pakistan was a responsible state and could protect its nuclear assets.
About the Pakistan-India peace process, he said that both countries’ people were happy with the confidence building measures (CBMs) taken by the two sides, however the CBMs would not yield desired results unless the Kashmir issue was resolved. The foreign minister said the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service had long been demanded by the Kashmiri people, but was not a substitute for the right of self-determination.
To a question that Pakistan had earlier maintained that unless the Kashmir issue was resolved no other business would be considered, but now Pakistan was taking CBMs, Kasuri said “We were following this policy for the past 56 years, now we have changed it but we have not compromised on the Kashmir issue. Similarly, we do not recognise the LoC as a permanent border.”
He said that Pakistan favoured inducting Kashmiri leaders in the peace process and they would be inducted in the final stage of the settlement of the dispute. “Kashmiris have suffered a lot and there must be an end to their miseries,” he added.
About Pak-US relations, Kasuri said the US had assured the government that its relations with Pakistan went beyond Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror, “These are not my words but the words of US Secretary of State Condalezzaa Rice.”
Replying to a query that Pakistan was supporting US extremism in Iraq and Afghanistan, the foreign minister claimed that Pakistan had never blindly supported the US. He said Pakistan had opposed the US invasion of Iraq and still was not supporting US policies in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said that Pakistan had not agreed to hard-line Taliban policies of Taliban, but because of geographical constraints and relations with India, the government had no option but to bear with the Taliban. Terming the US Congress approval of F-16s sale to Pakistan a success of the country’s foreign policy, Kasuri said that both countries were working to deepen their cordial relations.
When asked what guarantee Pakistan had that US would not backtrack from its promises, Kasuri said, “No one can guarantee that, America is not a bank and cannot be asked for a guarantee. It has its own interest and if they do not coincide with another country’s interests, no one can compel it. Similarly, if our interests do not match with US interests, we will refuse to support them.” Talking about the President Pervez Musharraf’s slogan of “enlightened moderation”, Kasuri said that Pakistan would send artists abroad to highlight the country’s “soft” image. online