Tuesday, Jul 16, 2002
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By B. Muralidhar Reddy
The Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman, Aziz Ahmed Khan, told a news conference here that Islamabad unequivocally condemned all violence directed at civilians and pointed at the statement on Saturday put out by the Government on the incident.
Mr. Khan reiterated that in the assessment of Pakistan, the Jammu massacre was designed to heighten the tension between India and Pakistan. In response to a question on the statement by Russia that Pakistan must break `terror chain', Mr. Khan asserted that there was no infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC).
The spokesman said the only way in which the Indian allegations of `cross border infiltration' could be verified was through the mechanism of deployment of either United Nations or a third country observers along the LoC. "We are prepared for it. The U.N. Observers have free access to the area on our side of the LoC.''
The spokesman said the continued presence of Indian troops on the border was a source of tension and concern to the international community. He said an accident on the border could lead to dangerous consequences.
Mr. Khan said tension in the region could come down only if India agreed to withdraw its troops to peacetime locations and move towards a meaningful and purposeful dialogue for resolution of all differences. "There is little doubt that with massive troops on the borders, the tension continues to be very high.''
The spokesman denied a report put out by an international news agency that the visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Tyronne Fernando, has brought a message to the Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Inam ul Haq, from the Indian Foreign Minister. Last week Mr. Sinha was in Colombo.
``I have spoken to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister who arrived here early this morning on a three-day visit. He has told me that he has been misquoted by the media,'' the spokesman said.
Mr. Fernando met Gen. Musharraf at the start of his three-day visit. The Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement "matters of bilateral interest were discussed'' when Gen. Musharraf received Mr. Fernando.
The Foreign Office spokesman maintained that the visit of the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister's visit was bilateral in nature. It appears Mr. Fernando is here to discuss the nitty-gritty ahead of the proposed three-day visit of Gen. Musharraf to Sri Lanka at the end of the month.
In response to a question on the supposed arms purchases by India from the United Kingdom, Mr. Khan said India's `relentless pursuit' for arms would add tension in the region and make all its neighbours restive.
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