Tuesday, July 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Pak envoy arrives
Says talks to be on equal footing
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Mr Aziz Ahmed Khan, accompanied by his wife, waves to the media on his arrival at the Wagah border post in Amritsar on Monday. — PTI photo

Wagah, June 30
The Pakistan High Commissioner-designate to India, Mr Aziz Ahmed Khan, who crossed over to India along with his wife and staffers through the Wagah joint checkpost, today announced that with a view to creating thaw in the region, Pakistan was ready to hold talks with India at any time and any place to resolve all issues, including Kashmir.

Talking to the Press here, Mr Khan said after taking over his new assignment he would give top priority to bringing normalcy in the relations so that both neighbouring countries could live in a congenial atmosphere. Giving clear indications that Pakistan wanted to hold talks on equal footing, Mr Khan said: “Let the internationally recognised sovereign equality be established for resolving all the ticklish issues.” Replying a question, Mr Aziz said Pakistan would welcome talks with India at any level. He said Pakistan had been expressing this desire for a long time which was repeated at the highest level many times. He said the process for the talks had already been initiated which was a good omen for creating permanent peace in the region.

Evading a direct question on cross-border terrorism, Mr Khan said Pakistan had been “inviting international inspection to verify the allegations....UN observers are there who can go and see for themselves on both sides of the line of actual control and we will welcome them.” Despite repeated question on the recent ‘Fidayeen attacks’ on the Army camp in Jammu, Mr Khan said: “Let me take over the new assignment first.”

When asked whether he expected any breakthrough in the bilateral relations during the forthcoming Foreign Secretary-level talks in Kathmandu (Nepal), Mr Khan said Pakistan was ready for the same. Answering another question on the over-flights, Mr Khan said the proposed meetings between the civil aviation authorities of both countries would resolve the matter. When his attention was drawn to the proposed resumption of the Delhi-Lahore bus service, Mr Khan said he was hopeful that it would be started shortly.

Earlier, Mr Khan, his wife, Asyhah Khan, Dr Aman Rashid, First Secretary in the Pakistan Embassy, Mr Sabir Rehman, a driver, Sher Ali and Mr Zulfiqar Khan, Mr Qurban Panah and Mr Arfaz Hussain, staff members, were received at the Wagah border by senior civil, police and BSF officials, including Mr R.K. Kaushik, Additional Secretary Punjab (Protocol), Mr Hemmat Purohit, DIG, BSF, Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, Amritsar.


India for flexible approach
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 30
India today gave a chilly response to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s suggestion to show “flexibility” on the Kashmir issue and made clear that if any “flexibility” has to be shown it has to be from Pakistan’s side.

The Indian response comes in the wake of General Musharraf’s remarks on Tibet and Jammu and Kashmir wherein he has urged India to show the same flexibility on Kashmir as it has shown on Tibet recently.

Reacting to General Musharraf’s remark, the Ministry of External Affairs said there was no similarity between Tibet and Jammu and Kashmir.

“Our position that the Tibet autonomous region is part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China has been consistent for nearly five decades. On Jammu and Kashmir, the problem is precisely that Pakistan refuses to recognise the political and legal reality that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Clearly, therefore, the flexibility that President Musharraf referred to has to be shown by Pakistan,” MEA spokesperson said.

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