Pakistan resolute on Kashmir despite threats: Sattar
26 October 2000
The News International
Islamabad: Pakistan will continue supporting the freedom movement in held Kashmir despite threats from New Delhi, Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said on Thursday. He was speaking to a delegation of the Saudi-based World Muslim Congress. ''Pakistan maintains its policy of support for the Kashmiri freedom struggle. We will not allow Indian threats and bluster to intimidate us or cause us to swerve from the right path,'' Sattar said. Sattar blasted New Delhi for pursuing a policy of domination and hegemony over its neighbours. ''India has sought to exploit power disparity to impose its preferences on less powerful states in violation of principles of peaceful co-existence,'' he said. ''Self-determination is a fundamental human right of the Kashmiris. It was specifically acknowledged by India as well as Pakistan. It has been sanctified in resolutions of the Security Council,'' Sattar said, referring to the 1948-49 UN commitments. He said that after the tit-for-tat nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in May 1998, the Security Council called upon the two countries to resume dialogue and address their outstanding issues. - AFP APP adds: Abdul Sattar said Pakistan is ready to join international efforts to promote peace agreement among warring Afghan factions. He said Pakistan that had cooperated with Iran and Saudi Arabia in the early 1990s in promoting agreements among Afghans leaders. ''We are prepared to join such efforts again if desired by the Afghan leaders,'' he said. ''We do not and will not interfere in Afghanistan''s internal affairs,'' he said. Sattar said Pakistan''s relations with Afghanistan remain strong, friendly and cooperative. ''We deeply regret the civil war in Afghanistan which continues to inflict terrible suffering and misery on the Afghan people,'' he added. ''Pakistan itself has suffered the consequences of civil war in Afghanistan. We are still hosting over 2 million refugees,'' he said. ''Consequently Pakistan, no less than any other foreign country, desires an early end to the fighting,'' he added. NNI adds: The minister said that the Palestine issue would take the centre stage at the OIC summit next month and the heads of the state and government would raise their powerful voice in support of collective international action to stop Israel''s excesses. He said that the OIC summit might also endorse the decisions of the Arab summit. He said representatives of the Kashmiri freedom struggle are expected to address the Islamic summit and the OIC contact group on Kashmir comprising Niger, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. ''The Kashmiri people look at the OIC for greater and stronger solidarity,'' he said. He said that India and Israel had taken major steps to forge close political links and diversity and expand their bilateral cooperation in different fields after several decades of clandestine contacts. He said that high-level Indo-Israeli exchanges had become more frequent in recent months. The Indian home minister visited Israel in June 2000 and the external affairs minister in July 2000. Immediately after the collapse of the Middle East peace talks in Camp David in July 2000, former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres visited India, he said and added that the main focus of Indo-Israeli cooperation is in military and nuclear fields. ''This is a matter of concern for us and for other states of the wider region,'' he added.