January 2003 News

Nancy's Remarks Unacceptable

27 January 2003
The Nation

Washington DC: Describing as misplaced and unacceptable American ambassador, Ms. Nancy Powell’s remarks regarding into Kashmir and Pakistan as “platform for terrorism” , foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri has said he would raise the matter with secretary of state. Colin Powell, during official meeting next Wednesday. He said Pakistan was abetting terrorism but had in fact become of its free will, the frontline state in global fight against terrorism. Similarly the allegations about continued infiltration into the LoC are contrary to what even the Indian army chief has acknowledged regarding a marked decrease in movement on the line. “I would like to impress upon the Bush administration and the international community to focus on the unabated brutalities being committed by Indian troops on the Kashmiri people instead of merely echoing the Indian allegations about incursions,” Kasuri said while talking informally to Pakistani newsmen here. Kasuri flew into Washington from Los Angeles on an official visit which includes top level meetings with senior aides, Congressional leaders, academics at influential thinks tanks and the US media. In Los Angeles, he addressed a big gathering of Pakistani- American community on Friday night to discuss the burning issue of registration of immigrants by US authorities which has affected and terrorised tens of thousands of Pakistani expatriates here. The foreign minister noted the clarification that Ms. Powell was misquoted and that she was merely echoing the expression used by president Musharraf in his famous Jan 12 speech last year. The State Department also used the same argument while defending Ms. Powell. “I think a senior career diplomat like Ms. Powell is expected to be more careful in the choice of words that could be misinterpreted,” Kasuri observed. Diplomatic observers here questioned the relevance of Ms. Powell’s quoting the remarks made a year ago at this stage, saying the timing carried an insinuation that Pakistan was continuing to be a platform of terrorism even now. They also noted that these virtually echoed US ambassador in New Delhi, Mr. Robert Blackwill who voiced almost similar sentiments a couple of days earlier. Blackwill is believed to have direct access to President Bush for whom he worked as foreign policy adviser during the 2000 election campaign. “There is a pattern which is discernible and reflects the American thinking,” a senior diplomat here observed. About the timing, he thought, the administration was trying to placate the Indians who had reacted sharply to remarks by senior US policy adviser, Richard Hass, during his recent visit to New Delhi. India also responded strongly to foreign minister Kasuri’s strong speech at the UN Security Council Special Ministerial Meeting on January 20 in which he asked the international community to condemn India’s state terrorism in Held Kashmir and not let the Indians suppress the Kashmiri people’s indigenous liberation struggle by exploiting the current global campaign against terrorism. Sources here said the Indians have apprised the French permanent representative and current president of the Council, that India would like to exercise its right of reply. India is not a member of the council while Pakistan began a 2-year term on January 1 as non-permanent member.


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