Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003
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By B. Muralidhar Reddy
At his weekly news briefing, the Foreign Office spokesman, Masood Khan, said Islamabad was of the firm view that talks were a must to resolve the issues between the two nuclear-capable states, including the long-standing Kashmir dispute.
However, he saw a "tone of condescension" in India's attitude at times and in its attempt to give an impression as if the talks would be a reward for Pakistan. "What we are saying is that the talks are the beginning of a process and after beginning the process, we will have to take several steps," he said. Mr. Khan said Pakistan had made it clear that it wanted talks but on the basis of sovereign equality and in the interest of peace. "We want talks, but we are not desperate for it."
He rejected India's allegation of cross-Line of Control movement and termed it New Delhi's `fiction' to evade a composite dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues. "There is no cross-LoC movement from our side, this is India's fiction," he said.
He was answering a question on the statement made by the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on continuing "cross-border movement" in his weekend address to India's military commanders.
On the contrary, the spokesman said, "repression in Indian-held Kashmir during the past six months had been intensified and terrorism against civilians increased".
India should give a serious thought to dismantling its `state-terrorism' infrastructure in Kashmir, he said.
On Pakistan's suggestion about the proposed Muzzafarabad-Srinagar bus service under a United Nations mechanism, Mr. Khan said India should reconsider its rejection of the offer.
"Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory as has been recognised by the U.N. Security Council. You cannot just close your eyes and pretend that it is not a disputed territory," he said.
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