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Hand of friendship yet to reach us: Pak.

By B. Muralidhar Reddy

ISLAMABAD SEPT. 29. The spat between India and Pakistan triggered by the spat at the United Nations and the decision of the Commonwealth not to lift its suspension of Pakistan has reached a new level of bitterness.

Islamabad today called New Delhi "bloody-minded" and said the hand of friendship extended by the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, remained in Delhi.

The Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman, Masood Khan, told presspersons that the peace process between Pakistan and India had not even begun. He said: "Mr. Vajpayee extended his so-called hand of friendship but it hasn't reached Islamabad. It is there in Delhi."

He said for the peace process to start there had to be a robust engagement and that was absent. He maintained that Mr. Vajpayee should have followed up his olive-branch offer "with some concrete action. What have been coming from Delhi are negative statements, anti-Pakistan statements, this is not how you start a peace process".

"They are not so powerful. They are just bloody-minded," Mr. Khan said when a correspondent wanted to know if India had become so powerful that it could block Pakistan's re-entry into the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth ministerial meet in New York decided to block the re-entry on the principle of consensus as India raised objections.

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