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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2675

Pak hopes US will not cut its promised aid

By Iqbal HUssain Khan Yousafzai – Reporting from Islamabad

Islamabad, 13 June, (Asiantribune.com): Pakistan has hoped that the US administration would ensure restoration of original economic and military assistance for 2007.

Responding to a question at the weekly news briefing here on Monday, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said the Bush administration had proposed aid worth 738 million dollars for Pakistan for the next year. This included 300 million dollars for military and 350 million dollars for economic assistance.

She pointed out that the US House of Representatives has proposed reduction of about two billion dollars in the foreign assistance for the next year including 150 million dollars' cut for Pakistan.

The spokesperson clarified that the cut has been proposed by the House of Representatives and it has yet to be considered by the Senate. Last year too, a reduction of 80 million dollars in aid for Pakistan was proposed but it was restored later on during consideration in the Senate and the Joint Committee of the two houses that reconciliation bills.

When her attention was drawn to a statement of former Indian External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha that India did not recognize Kashmir as the core issue, the spokesperson said there is clear mention of the final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir issue in both Simla and Tashkent agreements.

She emphasized that Pakistan considers Kashmir as the core dispute as it is at the heart of tension between the two countries. She said Kashmir is core dispute because of its gravity, implications for the political environment of the region, implications for Pakistan-India relations and more importantly because it relates to the fundamental rights of Kashmiris.

To another question the spokesperson said Kashmiris should be part of the peace process and should sit at the table. However, as this is not acceptable to India, we are quite comfortable with association of Kashmiris through other means. In this connection, she referred to interaction of Kashmiris with Pakistan and India and interaction between Kashmiris on two sides of the LoC.

Replying to yet another question she said Pakistan has already proposed ideas like self-governance, demilitarisation and joint management. India too, she said, made some proposals and Pakistan has responded to them.

She said mistreatment of Syed Ali Gillani was regettable and deplorable. Pakistan has long been emphasizing the need to provide political space to the Kashmiris.

To a question the spokesperson said President Pervez Musharraf's visit to China is in connection with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. On the sidelines, he would have meetings with Chinese leaders and heads of delegations of other countries.

Mrs. Tasnim Aslam emphatically stated that the Gwadar port is being developed on commercial basis and it is open to all countries. She said reports about its military use are part of the disinformation campaign aimed at creating misunderstanding.

About update on Aamer Cheema's death case, she said Pakistan had asked over 30 questions from German authorities and Germans have proposed proper procedure for the purpose which is being followed.

The Foreign Office spokesperson told a questioner that there is as yet no conclusion whether or not the four persons killed in Afghanistan were Pakistanis. She pointed out that the Indian company, the employer of the victims, has stated that they do not generally employ Pakistanis. There is also communication from Afghan government that they were Afghans.

- Asian Tribune -

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