August 1999 News

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Pakistan thinking of opening LoC: Sartaj

9 August 1999
The Asian Age
By: Muhammad Najeeb

Islamabad: Foreign minister Sartaj Aziz has said that Pakistan is willing to consider opening of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and holding elections after five years on both sides of the line.

Islamabad was willing to consider this proposal as it recognised the principle of elections, he said in response to a question in an interview with the Voice of America. He, however, said Pakistan did not favour converting the LoC into the international border with India.

Mr. Aziz said the proposal to open the LoC could be taken up during talks between the two countries. However, Pakistan's point of view could be presented only during the talks, he said, adding that the struggle of the Kashmiri "freedom fighters" would not be called off while the proposal is discussed.

He however said no such proposal had been received either from India or the United States. Mr. Aziz said a meaningful dialogue with India is possible only after the formation of a new government in New Delhi following the general election beginning next month.

In another interview with the daily , Mr. Aziz countered Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's call to the United States to declare Pakistan a"terrorist state" by saying it was India which should be a declared a terrorist country forthwith for its alleged "ethnic cleansing" in Kashmir. He dismissed as mere allegation the reported arrest of Inter-Services Intelligence agents in Assam and said India blamed Pakistan for all its failures. (India Abroad News Service)

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