Thursday, May 29, 2003
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By B. Muralidhar Reddy
Mr. Khan's appointment was made public within hours after New Delhi communicated that it had no objection to the posting of Mr. Khan, who now functions as the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry.
In a separate statement, a spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, referring to the CBMs announced by Mr. Jamali on May 6, said an early acceptance of them would set the stage for the resumption of a "meaningful and composite dialogue for resolution of all disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir''.
The spokesman welcomed the release of Pakistani prisoners and the resumption of the bus service by India. "We are happy to see that the Government of India has responded positively by releasing some Pakistani prisoners''.
Responding to a question, he said, "this gesture (release of prisoners) is in response to ours" when we had announced the "release of all Indian fishermen and 36 other prisoners on humanitarian grounds''. He said that so far 20 of them have been released and Consular access granted for 335 detained fishermen and 20 civilian prisoners variously since March this year.
``All of them would be set free as soon as Indian authorities are ready to receive them,'' he said. The spokesman also expressed satisfaction that India has accepted Pakistan's offer to the resume the bus service.
Mr. Khan is an experienced diplomat who has served as High Commissioner for Malaysia and Ambassador to Afghanistan. His earlier diplomatic assignments have been Buenos Aires, Brasilia, Maputo, Lisbon, Vienna, New Delhi and Los Angeles. He has been the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Director-General of the Foreign Service Academy.
Mr. Khan has been asked to make preparations to take up his new assignment in the near future. The High Commission designate will engage in consultations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other Ministries. "Before he leaves for India, Mr. Khan will seek guidance from Mr. Jamali and the President, Pervez Musharraf," an official statement said.
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