CE vows to back Kashmiris at all costs
27 July 2000
Islamabad: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf has reiterated Pakistan''s resolve to support the freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people under all circumstances, an official statement quoted him as saying at the inaugural of envoys conference here on Thursday. However, General Musharraf said Pakistan has consistently pursued a negotiated just settlement of the Kashmir dispute, which is the source of tensions in South Asia as acknowledged by the international community, the announcement added. The chief executive described the foreign policy of the country as the first line of defence and said it is based on norms of peace, justice, friendship and cooperation. General Pervez Musharraf identified country''s security concerns, which governed the policy, and emphasised on the role of Pakistan''s missions abroad for advancing the economic and trade interests and welfare of the expatriate community. He highlighted the historical perspective and Pakistan''s commitment to principles and underlined the centrality of Kashmir to peace and security of the region. He reaffirmed Islamabad''s support to the Kashmir freedom struggle under all circumstances, the announcement added. The chief executive asked the envoys to brace for challenges, especially from New Delhi, which was making all efforts to isolate Islamabad internationally. General Musharraf mentioned a few instances and hoped that country''s foreign policy would focus on this key aspect. Official sources said the first session, after inaugural ceremony on Thursday, was devoted to an extensive debate on the Pakistan-India relations and current tensions in the region. India''s stubborn attitude to avoid talks in response to Pakistan''s repeated negotiation offers also came under debate, the sources added. ''Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Pakistan''s High Commissioner in India, made a detailed presentation and gave his assessment over a wide range of interests that New Delhi has in the region and polices towards other regional countries,'' the sources added. The sources said the second session, in the afternoon, discussed and presentations were given on Pakistan''s relations with the United States and with European Union countries. The situation in Afghanistan and its impact on Pak-US relations was also discussed, the sources said. The sources said General Musharraf also talked about the performance of the Pakistani missions and stressed the need to improve it without delay. There was a mention in this regard that in some cases residences of envoys looked better than the missions but the Foreign Office sources offered no comment, the sources added. The six-day conference will discuss a large number of issues relating to the country''s foreign policy. The conference will discuss challenges to country''s foreign policy, its relations with neighbouring countries and international world, nuclear and security concerns, priorities and the role of Pakistan''s foreign missions in economic revival. The Foreign Office statement said Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, in his welcome address, assured the chief executive of the ability of the Foreign Office to vigorously implement the policy of the government. Pakistan''s ambassadors in Washington, Beijing, Berlin, New Delhi, Paris, Tokyo, Riyadh, Tehran, Brussels and Permanent representatives in New York and Geneva as well as ambassadors-designate to Kabul and Moscow are participating in the conference.