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October 23, 1999
'Take peace offer at face value'
Pakistan High Commissioner to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi has urged New Delhi to accept General Pervez Musharraf's peace offer at its face value instead of ''subjecting the gesture to microscopic scrutiny.''
In an interview to an Indian weekly, Qazi said: ''Take it for what it is, a unilateral offer for improvement in relations, hopefully leading to a result-oriented dialogue on all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.''
While accepting that there were differences about the situation along the Line of Control, he said the offer to withdraw forces along the International Border ''must be seen as indicative of an attitude that is positive as far as India-Pakistan relations are concerned. I believe it should be seen in that spirit instead of the cynicism that is present in some quarters.''
Asked whether the new military regime in Islamabad would honour the Lahore Declaration, he said: ''Our chief executive, in his statement on October 17, says our foreign policy will not be changed and that we will respect all our international obligations. He has welcomed the possibility of dialogue with India and said he would reciprocate the Indian prime minister's offer of friendship. It indicates that there will be no change in our foreign policy.''
''We are for unconditional dialogue, and unconditional dialogue means that we look forward, that we take each other's words at their face value. If you come up with arguments to the contrary you may feel yourself justified in doing so but you will be undermining the prospect for any negotiating process-that would be a pity,'' he added.
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