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|June 13, 1998||
Sanctions will prove counter-productive, warns Pak
Pakistan warned today that economic sanctions, approved by the foreign ministers of the world's major powers, won't return the nuclear genie to the bottle.
''The policy to punish in order to push the (nuclear) non-proliferation agenda will not succeed,'' foreign ministry spokesman Tariq Altaf told a news conference in Islamabad. ''It is unrealistic and based on a fictional notion of the realities in South Asia."
Instead, Altaf said the international community should move quickly to draw up a blueprint to resolve the 51-year-old Kashmir dispute that has been the flashpoint of two wars between India and Pakistan.
At a meeting in London yesterday, the world's leading industrialised nations decided to deny non-humanitarian loans to both Pakistan and India in retaliation for their nuclear tests.
''Any sanctions will continue to remain unproductive,'' said Altaf.
He said, ''Pakistan has lost faith in bilateral talks with New Delhi.''
Successive attempts at bilateral talks to settle the Kashmir dispute, have failed, he added.
''For 50 years the bilateral dialogue between Pakistan and India has produced no results,'' he said, criticising the industrialised nations' call for more talks between the South Asian enemies.
''To prescribe more of the same amounts to an abrogation of responsibilities under the United Nations charter and international law,'' Altaf said.
''We do not have faith in this process any more... Nevertheless, we are willing to resume these talks,'' he said. "We are making our best effort... We are not stopping at anything.''
The world's leading nations also warned Pakistan and India against developing nuclear weapons, but Altaf said until the outstanding issue of Kashmir is settled, the spectre of war hangs over the region.
''That will be disastrous not just for South Asia but it will have much wider ramifications,'' he said. ''It is time for the international community to translate promises of assistance into practical measures which can be seen by everyone.''
Earlier, Pakistani Finance Minister Sartaj Aziz said the likely loss in foreign assistance to Pakistan because of economic sanctions would amount to $ 1.3 billion during fiscal 1998-99.
Addressing a post-budget press conference to explain the budgetary policies, Aziz hoped that foreign aid in the pipeline would continue to trickle in.
"There is about $ 1.7 billion in the pipeline, but we have made alternative arrangements for the $ 1.3 billion most of which will drop out due to sanctions and opposition by some of the G-8 member countries at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank."
Aziz said that the implementation of an on-going $ 1.6 billion soft term loan package by the IMF would also be delayed by several months following an announcement on suspension of loans by the foreign ministers of G-8 countries.
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