Associated Press of Pakistan

Pakistan regrets Commonwealth's Ministerial Group's decision

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20 (APP): Pakistan on Tuesday regretted the decision taken by Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on Monday to suspend its membership of the 54 member organization. The principles of Harare Declaration of Commonwealth has been applied," in haste. We regret their decision," Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed told a briefing here today. Shamshad said a 4-member ministerial delegation of the Commonwealth is due in Islamabad shortly to meet with thePakistani leadership. Asked if the delegation would be allowed to meet the political leaders, he said," we will see if they expressed the desire." Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting which held a meeting in London on Tuesday had suspended the membership of Pakistan. "It deprives us of being in Durban," said Shamshad, adding, "we will have to wait and see." Pakistan, he said, prior to their decision had suggested to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth to despatch a fact finding mission to Pakistan after the change of Government. He said Commonwealth Ministers did not take into account the extra-ordinary circumstances which necessitated the change and enforcement of the emergency. They also ignore the categorical statement made by the Chief Executive , Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and COAS that military has no intention to stay in power any longer than is absolutely necessary to pave way for the democracy to flourish in the country. Shamshad said they also ignored the fact that it was not a martial law and the public sentiments are in favour of the change. The Chief Executive has already said it would be primarily a civilian regime in character, said Shamshad. Shamshad said the elected President of the country was performing his responsibilities and the courts are functioning. The fundamental rights and freedom of press are intact. He said the affairs of the country were being run in accordance with the constitutional provisions as far as it was possible.

Investigations continue in denying landing to Army Chief's plane

RAWALPINDI, Oct 20 (APP)- The investigations are under-way and information is being collected in the cases of loan default, tax evasion and the incident involving denial landing to the plane carrying Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf in Karachi on Oct 12, 1999. This was stated by Director General Inter Services Public Relations Brigadier Rashid Qureshi while briefing reporters here on Tuesday. "These are the areas where investigations are to focus and the information being collected", he said adding but as far as question of framing charges against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is concerned, the legal procedure will be followed to assess who is going to be charged.' The investigations into the incident of denial landing to the Army Chief's plane were mainly focussed on who ordered not to allow the aircraft to land and divert it to some other destination, he said. To a question, Brigadier Qureshi confirmed that the former Prime Minister and his brother Ex-Chief Minister of Punjab were still in protective custody but challenged veracity of all reports saying that Nawaz Sharif would be court martialled or tried soon. "I can assure you that no such information had been given nor has any conclusion been made to this effect as yet", he asserted.

Mirwaiz hails Chief Executive's stand on Kashmir

MUZAFFARABAD, Oct 20 (APP)- Acting Chairman APHC Mirwaiz Moulvi Umer Farooq has hailed the address of Chief Executive of Pakistan, General Pervaiz Musharraf to the nation for his principled stand on Kashmir and political, moral and diplomatic support to the struggling Kashmiris for their right to self- determination. In a statement issued on Tuesday in Srinagar, the Acting APHC Chairman lauded the assurance of Chief Executive given to the nation on the issue of Kashmir which, he said, has encouraged the Kashmiri people. Commenting on the dialogue process with India Mirwaiz said that the real representatives of the Kashmiris should also be included in the result-oriented parleys with India for the peaceful and permanent resolution of the longstanding dispute. Mirwaiz also welcomed the decision of Chief Executive General Pervaiz Musharraf for reducing the troops at the international border between India and Pakistan and termed it a positive gesture. He expressed the hope that same gesture would be reciprocated from the Indian leadership also. Mirwaiz also expressed the hope that both countries Pakistan and India would seek peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes including the core issue of Kashmir for the promotion of peace and tranquility and prosperity in the region.

No change in Pakistan's position on CTBT: Shamshad

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20 (APP): Pakistan Tuesday said there has been no change in its, "positive position," on Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and reiterated its call for removal of coercive sanctions and pressure in this respect. "We need an atmosphere free of coercion," Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed told a press briefing. "Sanctions, as we have always said, are counter productive and unacceptable to us," he said and added, "their continuation does not evoke a sense of equity nor inspires confidence of cooperation." He said Islamabad has always been sensitive to international non-proliferation concerns. "We will continue to pursue our policy of nuclear and missile restraint and sensitivity to global non-proliferation and disarmament objectives."

Pakistan welcomes unconditional talks with India

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20 (APP): Pakistan Tuesday said it was ready for an unconditional and result-oriented dialogue with India to resolve all outstanding matters particularly the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. "We have always desired that Pakistan and India should sincerely work towards resolving their outstanding problems especially the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir," Foreign Secretary Shamshad said and added,"with this end in mind, we would welcome unconditional and result-oriented dialogue with India." Addressing a press conference, he said, Pakistan has given the proposal of resumption of dialogue, "in good faith because dialogue is in the interest of both nations as well as the region. When asked that whether there is any possibility of "extending," the military de-escalation to the Line of Control, he said, "it is not prudent to lower guards at LOC in view of India's heavy troops concentration and volatile situation there." He said Pakistan only responds to Indian shelling and firing across the Line of Control. Responding to a question, the Foreign Secretary regretted that Indian reaction to Pakistan's goodwill gesture of unilateral withdrawal of additional troops from international border with India was not, "positive." The Chief Executive, he said has reiterated "our policy of maintaining moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris."

Pakistan calls for broad-based government in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20 (APP): Pakistan Tuesday reiterated its desire for a durable peace in Afghanistan through negotiations and reconciliation among the Afghans and called for establishment of a broad-based government in a war-torn country. "On Afghanistan, our policy is clear and consistent," Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad told a press conference He said, the Chief Executive General Pervez Musharaf had reiterated Pakistan's policy on Afghanistan in his policy statement. The CE, he said, had stressed,"the need for a broad-based government which is representative of all segments of the Afghan society." "Only the Afghan people are competent to bring about a government," he said and adding, the Tashkent Declaration which Pakistan signed during the six plus two meeting in the Uzbek capital in July this year also emphasized the establishment of such a government. "Pakistan will continue to extend its fullest support to all efforts aimed at promoting the Afghan peace process including those of the UN and the OIC. "Asked about the recent sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council against Taliban-led government in Afghanistan, Shamshad Ahmad said Pakistan was not the member of the Security Council. However, he said, as a matter of principle, Pakistan was strictly opposed to the sanctions of all kinds. "The sanctions do not serve any purpose - whether imposed against this or that country." The Foreign Secretary said, Pakistan remains opposed to all forms and manifestations of terrorism. "We support international effort to combat terrorism," he said and added, Pakistan had always extended full cooperation to the international community for this purpose.

Sultan deplores India for attacks on APHC office

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20 (APP)-AJK Premier Barrister Sultan Mehmood has strongly condemned the Indian attack on APHC office in Srinagar saying the Indian extremist rulers will not succeed to curb the freedom movement of Kashmiri. Talking to journalists here on Tuesday Sultan said, the speech of Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf and his bold stance on Kashmir issue has further encouraged the Kashmiri people and their destination will come closer now. He appealed the international community to play its due role for holding plebescite in IHK in accordance with the UN resolutions. He said, the international community should take similar steps as it did in East Taimor and quit its double standards policy while dealing with human rights situation and freedom movements. He urged the Indian authority to leave their traditional obstinate attitude and think seriously for the political solution of Kashmir issue to bring durable peace in the region. Kashmiri people are struggling for their rights for the past 52 years he said adding that the international community should come forward at least now to set a time frame for the solution of Kashmir issue and compel India to cooperate. He said the world should know clearly that peace can not be established in the region until the issue of Kashmir is resolved according to the wishes of the people.