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EU report on Kashmir has negative elements: Pak

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
March 26, 2007 21:02 IST
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Pakistan on Monday said it was dissatisfied with the amended European Union report on Kashmir as it believed it had some "negative elements" and "glaring errors" that needed to be rectified.

"The original report was totally negative, discriminatory and biased. That has largely been changed and amended," Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said, reacting to Emma Nicholson's report 'Kashmir: Present Situation and Future Prospects.'

"The report," she said, "still has many negative elements that need to be rectified."

"We hope that the EU Parliament, when the report come before it, would have a very close look at it and amend and rectify the glaring errors in the reports and bring it in consonance with the principles of UN charter, international law and aspirations of Kashmiri people which have been sanctified by UN Security Council," she told reporters.

On the upcoming SAARC Summit in New Delhi, Aslam said Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will represent Pakistan at the meeting.

She said the summit will provide the opportunity to leaders of the member states to review the progress that the organisation has made over the last three decades. "It will also be an opportunity to welcome Afghanistan which joined the organisation".

A number of observers, including China, Japan, the EU and the United States would also be attending the summit and there would be a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit.

She said India would circulate a draft declaration that will be forwarded to the leaders after approval by officials.

On whether the Joint Mechanism on Terrorism formulated by India and Pakistan was aimed at dealing with incidents of terrorism in both the countries and would be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, Aslam said the issue was elaborated by the foreign secretaries of both countries.

Asked about External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's remarks that Pakistan's bid to keep Jammu and Kashmir out of the purview of the mechanism was incongruous, she said, "The position is the same and the mechanism is the same between Pakistan and India".

On whether there was any breakthrough in the Indo-Pak dialogue to resolve Kashmir and other issues, she said the dialogue is taking place because it is in the interest of both the countries.

"It is not a favour one is doing to the other. Secondly, it is not Pakistan's military pressure on India, but the public sentiment in Kashmir that matters. As for breakthroughs, I have no announcement to make," she said.

Asked when the committee of retired judges formed by India and Pakistan to improve conditions of prisoners would meet, she said, "We are ready to hold this meeting when India is ready. We have been ready for a long time. We have been ready for a long time. It was our initiative and you should not have any doubt about our commitment to this humanitarian issue."

She alleged that a number of Pakistani prisoners released recently were found to be mentally deranged.

On the Sir Creek issue, she said the process of exchanging maps has been completed. "If you have an agreed map you can go to the next stage which is to negotiate and agree on the maritime boundary".

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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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