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Pak accuses India of using pressure tactics

Islamabad, November 18
Pakistan today charged India with using “pressure tactics” by delaying confirmation of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s participation in the SAARC summit here in January next year in order to force Islamabad to restore airlinks prior to his visit.

“It appears that India used confirmation of Mr Vajpayee’s visit as pressure tactics to prevail on Pakistan to restore airlinks prior to his visit,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Sheikh Rashid told Pakistani TV channel Geo.

Mr Rashid, who visited New Delhi recently to take part in the SAARC Information Ministers’ conference, said although Mr Vajpayee had not yet confirmed his participation, he was sure that the Indian Prime Minister would attend the summit.

A Pakistani delegation is due in New Delhi on December 1 to hold the second round of talks on restoring the air-links. The first round of talks broke down after Pakistan insisted on India providing guarantees to not ban overflights in the future, which New Delhi rejected.

Mr Rashid said during his India visit, he tried his “level best” to communicate the mindset and thinking of the Pakistani people towards Indians. There had been a number of “misunderstandings” which, he said, he had tried to clear.

Pointing out that a face-to-face interaction had not taken place between the leadership of the two countries for a long time, Mr Rashid said his visit remained “very positive” in this perspective as he elaborated Pakistan’s point of view to the Indian media. — PTI

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