Pak. will go by Hurriyat response to ceasefire offer
26 July 2000
Islamabad: Pakistan has said it will be guided by the response of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference in its assessment of the ceasefire declared on Monday by the Hizbul Mujahideen. A Foreign Office spokesman told a news conference here that Pakistan recognised the APHC as the true representative of the Kashmiri people and the implications of any activity by various elements of the ''freedom struggle'' would have to be assessed by the Kashmiri leadership. The spokesman, however, declined to comment on whether the rejection of the ceasefire by other militant groups reflected a rift in their ranks. His standard reply was that while Pakistan supported the Kashmir people''s struggle for self-determination, it was for the ''freedom fighters'' to decide how best to carry it forward. Answering another question on the rejection of the Hijbul announcement, the spokesman said Pakistan did not have any control over the ''freedom fighters'' and it was for them to decide on the ''political dimensions and other means'' of the struggle. The spokesman categorically denied that there was any link between the Hijbul announcement and the Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr. Tang Jiaxuan''s visit to India and Pakistan. Asked whether the offer could help to create an atmosphere conducive to a dialogue between India and Pakistan on the United Nations forum, the spokesman said Islamabad had offered to hold talks without any condition. He recalled the Chief Executive, Gen. Pervez Musharraf''s statement that he was prepared to talk to the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, at any time, any place and any level. ''It is for India to respond.'' He said Pakistan would want a ''meaningful, result- oriented and definite progress'' in resolution of the Kashmir problem whenever the dialogue was resumed. On the possibility of Gen. Musharraf meeting Mr. Vajpayee at the U.N. Millennium Summit in September, the spokesman said the agenda of the Chief Executive was yet to be finalised. The spokesman said Mr. Tang during his meetings with Gen. Musharraf and the Pakistan Foreign Minister, Mr. Abdul Sattar, appraised them of his discussions with the Indian leaders. The spokesman said China supported the Pakistani position on Kashmir and wanted the two countries to resume the dialogue to address all issues, including Kashmir. Pakistan, he said, appreciated the G-8 call for India and Pakistan to holding talks.