Friday, June 4, 2010

Pakistan not to compromise on water issues with India

Foreign Office Thursday said Pakistan will not compromise on water issues in the upcoming dialogue with India.

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit in his weekly press briefing while replying to a question about US-India Strategic dialogue and its possible repercussions on Pakistan, said the United States has taken Pakistan into confidence on Indo-US Strategic dialogue.

The spokesman said Pakistan hoped the US-India relations would be a factor of stability in South Asia.

Replying to a question about India's role in Afghanistan, the spokesman said Pakistan has always maintained that relations between the two countries should not be at the cost of Pakistan's security and stability.

The spokesman acknowledged that there was trust deficit between Pakistan and India and that is why the two countries should talk to each other.

He said Pakistan would hold the meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries in Islamabad on 15th of next month with sincerity of purpose.

He hoped that this engagement would lead to sustained and meaningful dialogue process so that the two countries can free the region of conflicts and disputes. In this context, settlement of dispute is very important.

The spokesman said there have been violations of Indus Basin Treaty by India and Pakistan has strong reservations about some projects initiated by India.

Pakistan would like settlement of these disputes in accordance with the mechanism contained in the treaty, said spokesman.

Responding to another question regarding demand of the United Nations for a halt to drone attacks, the spokesman said, "These attacks are violation of our sovereignty and not helpful in the context of winning hearts and minds, which is important for defeating terrorism."

He said Pakistan has different views with the United States on this issue and the two countries are working together to find out mutually acceptable arrangement so that efforts to counter terrorism become more effective.

The spokesman told a questioner that the Washington Post story about possibility of unilateral strikes inside Pakistan by the United States was baseless.

"Pakistan and the United States have been working to intensify bilateral cooperation in the context of counter terrorism including sharing of real time intelligence," he said.

The spokesman said the United States never conveyed anything of the sort directly or indirectly to Pakistan as suggested by the Washington Post.

He said, "Our armed forces and security and law enforcing forces have been doing a great job in the context of terrorism and people of Pakistan have also rendered enormous sacrifices."

He said Pakistan is facing numerous challenges but the government and the people are united in their resolve to defeat terrorism.

Regarding any foreign pressure on Pakistan to launch military operation in South Punjab, the spokesman said it is not the question of pressure on the country.

"Pakistan decides on its own and any decision to take action anywhere would be taken in the larger interest of the country," he added.

The spokesman said as "Cyclone Phet" is likely to hit Oman's eastern coast today, and the Embassy of Pakistan in Muscat, in coordination with local authorities, has been able to evacuate majority of three to four hundred Pakistanis from Masirah Island to safer places. Only those who are required for security and emergency services are still there.

He said, "Our Embassy is in close touch with the Royal Oman Police, Operations Cell in Muscat, responsible for "Cyclone Phet" to look after Pakistan nationals in Oman."

Replying to a question he said the Government and people of Pakistan together had been active in pursuing the goal of safe return of three nationals from Israel.

He said at the instance of Pakistan and other members of the OIC the Human Rights Council in Geneva has adopted a resolution demanding despatch of an international fact finding mission to investigate violations of international law by Israel.

He said the OIC countries would be pursing this objective further.

The spokesman said after successful bilateral visit to Spain, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani is now in Brussels to attend second Pakistan-EU summit to be held tomorrow.

The Prime Minister will also meet the President of the EU Parliament and heads of parliamentary committees besides holding talks with the Belgian Prime Minister, he said.

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