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What's wrong with involving UN? asks Pakistan

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
Last updated on: October 30, 2003 23:08 IST
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Pakistan on Thursday defended its proposal for United Nations involvement in the Srinagar-Muzzaffarabad bus service saying it offered the 'best mechanism'.

It took exception to Defence Minister George Fernandes' remark that bringing the bus service under the auspices of the UN would be 'meaningless'.

"The UN offers the best mechanism, which cannot be conceivably substituted by any other modalities," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan said.

Khan said that Fernandes' remark that 'what is the UN going to do on the roads which are meant for the common people' does not seem to be an 'informed comment'.

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Pakistan, while responding to the Indian proposal of running a bus service between the two cities, suggested on Wednesday the UN must control and man the check posts along the LoC and the people can move across with UN documents.

Claiming 'scores of UN resolutions on Kashmir', Khan said, "Kashmir is a disputed territory recognised as such by the United Nations. This pretence therefore, is plain posturing. Nothing more."

Pakistan's suggestion, he said, was intended to help the divided families pending 'final dispensation' of the Kashmir dispute.

"We continue to hope that the Indian government will come up with a more mature response to our proposals announced yesterday," he said.

Commenting on Fernandes' statement on Pakistan being a small country, he said, "If the Indian defence minister perceives Pakistan to be small, which obviously it is not, then he should overcome his morbid fear of Pakistan and stop threatening us with wars."

"Frankly, these melodramatic flourishes are not even amusing, and cannot be dignified with a response," he said.

Accusing India of adopting 'double postures' in its approach to holding talks with Pakistan, Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali said talks would help resolve Indo-Pak issues.


"Confidence building measures will play an important role in normalising relations. We are moving towards a solution of the Kashmir issue, because Kashmir is the real issue between the two countries," official APP news agency said.


Jamali said the measures proposed by India and Pakistan to ease travel restrictions and open the war-blocked frontier in Kashmir to civilian traffic are helping to normalise relations and lead to a solution of larger issues.


"India wants negotiations. We also want a solution of disputes through negotiations," Jamali said.
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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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