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Musharraf touring Middle East on the call of Arab leaders rather than any point scoring : FO

23 January, 2007

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has said President General Pervez Musharraf is touring Middle East on the call of Arab leaders adding he has not gone there for point scoring but his visit is rather aimed at holding talks on ideas for settlement of Palestine dispute.

This was said by foreign office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam in weekly press briefing here on Monday. The spokesperson stressed that terrorism and extremism can not be eliminated through military means but its root causes will have to be addressed.

She held President Musharraf has held fruitful and constructive talks with Saudi leadership. He is now in Egypt and is discussing various proposals for the resolution of Palestine issue.

Several world and Arab leaders had asked President Mushrraf that Pakistan should play its role for settlement of Palestine problem as peace process in Middle East has come to a stand still, she underlined. Pakistan wants this inertia comes to end.

No talks are underway with Israel at present, she said adding President Musharraf is engaged in consultation process with world leaders only for the settlement of Palestine dispute.

Replying to a question, Tasneem Aslam said Pakistan wants to take forward peace process with India and the need is there that India should also demonstrate flexibility and sincere desire. Then there can be movement forward on the resolution of all outstanding issues including Kashmir issue.

To another question, she said Pakistan put forward the proposal on forces pull out from Kashmir so that improvement comes in the situation. India should take away its forces from Kashmiri population and cities so that harassment comes to end. The level of human rights violations has risen and these abuses should also come to end.

Kashmiris want progress on Kashmir issue, she maintained. APHC leadership is holding talks on various ideas, she added. Our stance is very clear on Kashmir dispute. No solution is acceptable to us, which is not acceptable to people of Kashmiri.

To a question, she said that traveling procedure for Kashmiris should be easy one. The prevailing procedure is creating difficulties for them. Pakistan and India have agreed to ease this procedure.

Responding to a question she said, " we don't know as to why Afghan president talked about infiltration from Pakistan side. Mullah Omar is not in Pakistan. We go on sharing intelligence with US and Afghanistan. They also don't know about the location of Mullah Omar. He is likely to be in Kandahar. There may be some Taliban among three million Afghan refugees. We however can not make any distinction among them as they all look alike. It is our utmost effort that no Taliban crosses across Pak-Afghan border. It is not correct to accuse Pakistan in this regard. The root cause of Afghan issue is home grown. Afghan president has acknowledged that corruption, drug trafficking and smuggling are the key problems. However undesirable activities take place in Afghan refugees camps near Afghan borders. Therefore we want Afghan refugees return to their country.

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