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We'are going to Thimphu with open mind: Pakistan

Anita Joshua

It's for good-neighbourly ties, says Foreign Office on eve of Kashmir Solidarity Day


JuD warns of ‘jihad' if Kashmir is not freed through civil agitation

No compromise on Kashmir issue: PPP


ISLAMABAD: As the country prepared to observe Kashmir Solidarity Day on Saturday with accompanying anti-India rhetoric on the streets, the Foreign Office on Friday maintained that Islamabad would go to Thimphu — where the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan are due to meet — “with an open mind.”

The Foreign Office statement reiterating Pakistan's aspiration for “normal and good-neighbourly relations” is being seen by some quarters here as an effort to ensure that the rallies and protest marches do not vitiate the atmosphere ahead of the talks on the sidelines of a meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said: “We hope India will come to the meeting with a constructive attitude so that a comprehensive, sustained and result-oriented dialogue process can be resumed.” It was necessary to resolve all outstanding issues — including the Jammu & Kashmir dispute —for good-neighbourly relations.

Protest rally

Elsewhere in the federal capital, the Jamat-ud-Dawah — which, according to India, had a hand in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks — held a rally against Indian “atrocities” in “Held Kashmir.” Addressing the rally, JuD leaders warned that a ‘jihad' would be launched if Kashmir was not liberated through civil agitation.

Lambasting the Pakistan government — naming President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani in particular — the JuD leaders said first the former President, Pervez Musharraf, and now the current dispensation were extending the olive branch to New Delhi despite the atrocities on the Kashmiri people. The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party came in for stinging criticism as the JuD accused it of always adopting a soft attitude towards India.

As if anticipating this criticism, PPP leader and federal Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira told journalists earlier in the day that his party would never compromise on the issue of Kashmir, adding the Pakistani nation would continue to provide political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people.

Since 1990 Pakistan has been observing February 5 as Kashmir Solidarity Day. It is a public holiday and is marked by countrywide protests over Indian “occupation” of Kashmir.

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