Wednesday, May 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Jamali will hold talks with Vajpayee: Pervez

Islamabad, May 27
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said any summit-level talks between India and Pakistan will be conducted by Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and not by him.

Any future talks at the highest level will be held between Mr Jamali and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, General Musharraf was quoted as saying by a private television channel.

He reportedly told a meeting of Pakistan’s politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats here last night that he did not want to become a “hurdle” in the emerging Indo-Pak peace process.

“We have an elected government in place and if there is any chance of a meeting with Mr Vajpayee, Prime Minister Jamali will meet him,” he is reported to have said.

His comments followed Mr Vajpayee’s remarks ruling out chances of him meeting General Musharraf in the near future.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is likely to restore rail and air links with India before a formal resumption of dialogue between the two countries.

Pakistani Ministries of Railways, Sports, Culture, Tourism, Interior and Commerce and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) put forward the arrangements being made for talks with India during a meeting at the Foreign Office here yesterday, The Daily Times reported today, quoting official sources.

During the meeting, chaired by Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, the Railways Ministry showed its preparations for the resumption of transport facilities. “It is expected that such links will be established even before the formal resumption of talks between the two countries,” the daily said.

Representatives from the CAA also expressed their willingness to resume air links with India and grant permission of overflights for Indian aeroplanes as it would fetch money for the authority.

However, the representatives from the Commerce Ministry expressed reservations regarding early trade relations with India. There were apprehensions against resuming trade ties and granting the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India. According to reports, it would create problems for Pakistani manufacturers engaged in producing goods that were also produced by their Indian counterparts.

Islamabad has accused New Delhi of blocking its entry into regional trade blocks and being sceptical of giving concessions.

Pakistan feels that India has been blocking its efforts to enter into various regional trade agreements, which provide preferential trade among member countries of South Asia, The Dawn has reported quoting official sources.

Pakistani officials said under regional agreements, the Chinese government had allowed preferential treatment on many items to India, while Pakistan was denied the facility.

According to officials, Pakistan was also trying to become a member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation and the Economic Cooperation Group comprising India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. India had opposed Pakistan’s entry into these agreements as well, they added. PTI, UNI


Aziz named Pak High Commissioner

Islamabad, May 27
Pakistan has nominated career diplomat Aziz Ahmed Khan, currently the foreign office spokesman, as its new High Commissioner to India, setting at rest confusion over who would be appointed to the hot seat in New Delhi.

Mr Aziz’s name had been forwarded to the Indian External Affairs Ministry yesterday for formal approval, foreign office officials said here today. An official announcement would be made after the clearance of Mr Aziz’s name by India, they said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali had named Pakistan Ambassador to China, Mr Riaz Muhammad Khan, as the High Commissioner to India in an interview. The foreign office, however, said that the decision on Mr Riaz Khan was not final. PTI

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