UK says Pakistan must stop infiltration across LoC
Freedom fighters are terrorists: Straw
Says dispute must be resolved through negotiation
‘Terrorism is terrorism’
By Saukat Piracha and
ISLAMABAD: British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on Tuesday asked President Musharraf to take further action to meet the international community’s expectations by ending cross-border infiltration.
“I think that President Musharraf is under no doubt about the expectation of the international community for clear action to be taken in addition to that which has already been taken to clamp effectively down on cross-border terrorism,” said Mr Straw while addressing reporters after his meeting with President Musharraf. About the promises made by General Musharraf, the British foreign secretary said, “The test of assurances down the ages is how they work out on the ground, and it’s of course against the practice that all these matters are inevitably judged.”
Mr Straw described his meeting with Musharraf as ‘constructive and forthright’ but refused to give further details of their ‘confidential’ talks. He also met with Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar and held talks on the tension with India. Mr Straw repeatedly said negotiation was the solution to all Indo-Pak disputes.
Mr Straw said terrorism was terrorism and needed to be addressed accordingly. However, he continued, the international community has a role to play in seeking a peaceful resolution of the two countries’ outstanding issues.
Mr Straw went on to say there has been evidence that Pakistan had been supporting terrorism in the held Kashmir and that he had discussed the issue in his meeting with Gen Musharraf, emphasizing that the rest of the world called terrorists whom Pakistan called freedom fighters. He described the purpose of his visit as “seeking a better understanding of Pakistan’s position in its dispute with India and conveying the international community’s understanding to Pakistan”.
About the UN resolutions regarding Kashmir in 1948, Mr Straw observed that the decision was made under different circumstances, saying it was now the year 2002 and “we have to deal with the issues in the given situation”.
Mr Straw added that the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, free and fair elections and peace were the major concerns of the international community. Responding to a contention that India could never have had deployed its forces in mass across the border without the blessing of the US and the UK, the Mr Straw said both India and Pakistan were sovereign states and were not bound to the US’s instructions. Similarly, Pakistan’s proposed deployment of international observers along the border to monitor infiltration was up to Pakistan. “I am not a messenger here but what we feel is a matter of concern and that is why I am here,” he said.
“Both sides have nuclear weapons and the capacity to use them, so the risks are obvious and considerable,” said Mr Straw. “But because we cannot do everything, and we cannot, does not mean that we should not try to do our best, as I believe we are, to seek to avert war and to secure a peaceful resolution of this long-running dispute,” he continued.
Later, Jack Straw arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday evening.