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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2396

Pakistan not involved in arms race in South Asia

By Iqbal Hussain Khan Yousafzai - Reporting from Islamabad

Islamabad, 16 May, (Asiantribune.com): Pakistan Monday said that it is not involved in any conventional or nuclear arms race in the region and reiterated that it will maintain minimum deterrence in the wake of its security concerns.

During her weekly briefing here, the foreign office spokesperson tasneem aslam, replying to a question about Agni-III missile test by India, said Pakistan is aware of its security concerns.

"We do not want an arms race, conventional or non-conventional, in this region. Pakistan is alive to its security concerns and ready to meet its security requirements."

Replying to a another question, the Spokesperson said Pakistan wants progress from the talks with India. She said Pakistan wants to move forward in the dialogue process with India.

About the issue of Baglihar, the Spokesperson said the matter is with the neutral expert and both sides would have meeting with the expert this month or the next.

She said Pakistan and Afghanistan have decided to hold regular meetings at the level of foreign ministers to remove any misunderstandings and to better cooperate with each other in the war against terrorism.

The decision was taken by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Afghan President Hamid Karazi when they met on the sidelines of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) recently.

The Spokesperson said Afghan Foreign Minister was likely to visit Pakistan very soon for talks with his counterpart on bilateral issues and security measures.

She rejected allegations that Pakistan was taking half-hearted efforts in the war against terrorism, pointing out that it was on record that Pakistani forces had sacrificed more lives than the combined loss of foreign troops stationed in Afghanistan.

The Spokesperson said Pakistan had deployed 80,000 troops on the border with Afghanistan to stop the movement of terrorists. She said, "We have record of doing more than any other single country in this war against terrorism."

She said the allegations against Pakistan were "absurd."

The spokesperson said, "if any one is making half- hearted efforts, its on the other side of the border."

She said Afghanistan needs to concentrate on taking action on their side instead of levelling accusations against Pakistan.

She said, if they had any evidence they should share it with Pakistan, because that is the proper way. She said going to press and levelling wide allegations does not help any one.

The spokesperson said people of Pakistan and Afghanistan have very long and deep rooted historical, cultural and religious ties and they are the binding force between the two countries. She said small matters between the two countries could not jeopardize these relations.

Answering a question about the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden said, "No body knows where Osama Bin Laden is; if he is alive, the chances are that he might be in Afghanistan, but we can not say for sure."

Commenting on the reports of investigation on nuclear proliferation, the Spokesperson said Pakistan had conducted thorough investigation in this regard and shared information with IAEA and other relevant countries.

If there was any thing new in this regard relating to any other country or Pakistan "We will investigate and share the results," she said. At the moment "We have nothing new in this regard."

About the issue of gas pipeline with Iran, she said Pakistan has been working on the project.

Regarding visit of President Musharraf in June to China to attend SCO meeting, she said Pakistan wants to be a full member of SCO and is working on it.

Answering a question, she said OIC senior officials have approved a resolution in their meeting held recently in Jeddah which will be adopted in OIC's officials meeting to be held in Baku next month.

She said the resolution urges all member states as well as other peace loving states to extend financial support to the elected Palestinian government of Hamas, so that it could tackle the financial problems following the suspension of financial support from USA and Canada.

Commenting on the agreement between Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto in London on charter of democracy, the Spokesperson said, Pakistan has no extradition treaty with United Kingdom to seek any one or any absconder to return to Pakistan.

She said Nawaz Sharif was given permission by the government to travel to London. She said United Kingdom is not interfering in Pakistan's affairs and added Pakistan will not allow any one to interfere in its internal affairs.

About the death of Aimer Cheema in German jail, the Spokesperson said Pakistan's investigation team is in Germany and has access to all the places. She said the team will come to Pakistan and submit its report regarding the investigation.

She expressed deep sense of condolence and loss of young life of Pakistani student.

The Spokesperson said Pakistan and Germany have good bilateral and multifaceted cooperation added that this tragic and sad incident would not have a negative impact on these relations. This is the desire of both the countries, she added.

- Asian Tribune -

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