Friday, Mar 01, 2002
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By B. Muralidhar Reddy
The Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman, Aziz Ahmed Khan, told a news conference here that the issue has formally figured in discussions between Pakistan and the U.S. and at the moment Islamabad would continue its with its investigations.
In response to a question Mr. Khan said Sheikh is under investigation for Pearl's murder. "First let us complete those investigations, before a decision was made to extradite him to U.S.'' He denied the suggestion that the extradition was delayed because of any mistrust or lack of a extradition treaty between the two countries. He said there was a treaty between British India and U.S. before Partition. Pakistan assumed the treaty after its creation. "Technically, an agreement exists. In this particular case, we will continue with investigations''.
Asked why Sheikh, who was also indicted by U.S. for kidnapping of American tourist in India in 1994 was not extradited earlier, he said it could be because Sheikh was in hiding. "Probably, the gentleman was absconding. He was not traceable'', he said.
The Press Secretary to the Pakistan President, Rashid Qureshi, who was also present at the press briefing, denied reports in the media that a U.S. aircraft was fired upon two days ago while it was landing at Jacobabad airbase in Pakistan. It is currently being used by American forces for their operations in Afghanistan.
``That is an absolutely incorrect report. There was no firing on any U.S. aircraft''. However, he said confusion was created by the presence of a brick kiln on the path of landing.
The sensors of the aircraft were activated after they detected the heat from the kiln. The aircraft was not fired upon as reported, Maj. Gen. Qureshi said.
Replying to a question, Gen. Qureshi also said the U.S. has agreed in principle to sell arms to Pakistan and modalities were discussed during the President, Pervez Musharraf's recent visit to the U.S. He said the details of sales would be discussed at the meeting of the Defence Consultative Committee, constituted recently by the two countries. The committee was expected to meet in a few months, he said.
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