Saturday, July 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hurriyat to be invited

Islamabad, July 6
Overriding strong objections from India, Pakistan today said Hurriyat leaders would be invited at the reception hosted by its High Commission in New Delhi on July 14 in honour of President Pervez Musharraf.

Maintaining that Pakistan looked forward to a positive result out of the July 15 Musharraf-Vajpayee summit in Agra, Foreign Office spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan defended the move to invite the Hurriyat leaders at the reception, saying that they had been invited in the past for all important occasions like the country’s National Day.

“In the same tradition invitation will be extended to them,” Mr Khan told reporters.

Pakistan believed that involvement of the Kashmiri separatist alliance was necessary for settlement of the Kashmir issue, he said.

Mr Khan, however, said no invitation had been sent to Hurriyat leaders so far as the President’s programmes were yet to be finalised.

He declined to comment when asked about the Indian stand that the invitation to the Hurriyat leader was a “non-issue”.

It was apparent from Mr Khan’s comments that Pakistan had decided to change its stand on not inviting them in deference to the firm position taken by host India that the separatist organisation had no role in the summit.

Official sources here said the Pakistani move would definitely vitiate the atmosphere before the summit.

Mr Khan said Pakistan would focus on the Kashmir issue at the summit-level talks between President Musharraf and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

“Kashmir is the root cause of the tension between Pakistan and India. The issue has to be meaningfully addressed,” he said expressing the hope that the summit would lead to the process of finding a solution to the problem “in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris”.

Other bilateral matters could be taken up at the Foreign Secretary-level talks when they resume, Mr Khan said.

On the MFN status, he said, India talked about it but at the same time had a number of structural and non-tariff barriers with the result that the trade which existed between the two countries at present was heavily in favour of India.

Asked about his reaction to the package of proposals announced by India to release 229 Pakistani civilian prisoners, lifting of tariff barriers on a number of items, he said Pakistan had always been sensitive to humanitarian problems like detention of fishermen who strayed into its waters.

The detained Indian fishermen were released time to time, he added. PTI

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |