Kashmir Tensions: Doors To Dialogue Are Open, Khar Tells New Delhi

Kashmir Tensions: Doors To Dialogue Are Open, Khar Tells New Delhi

17 January 2013
Express Tribune
Huma Imtiaz

Washington DC: Hours after a Pakistani soldier was killed by Indian troops at the Kundi Post in Kashmir, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar warned against “upping the ante” between the two countries. “We see warmongering,” Khar said at the Asia Society session in New York. “It is deeply disturbing to hear statements which are upping the ante, where one politician is competing with the other to give a more hostile statement,” she said in response to a statement by the Indian prime minister. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said that “it cannot be business as usual with Pakistan”. “The doors to dialogue are open,” she said. “We need to meet at any level, I think we need to call each other, we need to become mature countries which know how to handle their truth.” Khar again denied Indian accusations that Pakistani forces had beheaded one of two soldiers that India says were killed on January 8. She said an inquiry had found “no evidence” of the deaths. India says two of its soldiers have been killed, one beheaded, since hostilities erupted along the Line of Control (LoC). Haqqani netwok In response to a question about the Haqqani Network, Khar said that any group that uses violence as a means to propagate themselves was distasteful to Pakistan. Regarding the subject of the Foreign Terrorist Organisations designation of the Haqqani Network, she said that with the burden of over three million Afghans living in Pakistan it was impossible for the government to keep track of everyone crossing the unguarded border. “One of them crosses the border into Afghanistan, where there are 57,000 people crossing everyday unchecked, attacks someone in Afghanistan and Pakistan gets blamed,” she said, adding that it was unreasonable to make such allegations against the state. The foreign minister informed the session that Pakistan had lost $72 billion in the war against terrorism and that it was fighting the war for its own existence, and as a frontline state. Khar further snubbed allegations that army chief General Kayani had called the Haqqani Network an asset for the country in an interview to with the New York Times, saying that these were not the views of the country and General Kayani did not support such views. Dr Qadri’s Long March In a question hour session after her speech, the foreign minister termed Dr Tahirul Qadri’s demands unconstitutional and added that he could be arrested for them. An irked Khar said that no one could just come to Pakistan and ask the military and judiciary to intervene in the country’s political matters. “This person, who has come to literally derail the system and nothing else, happens to be a person who constitutionally cannot contest a single provincial or national assembly seat,” she added. She also said that by all accounts, the numbers at Qadri’s rally were close to only 30,000 people, saying that his organisation Minhaj ul Quran International was well organised, and hence it would not be a problem for him to get these many people together.