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Pakistan keen to resume intra Kashmir trade

31 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said it wants an early solution to the suspension of intra-Kashmir trade, so that the trade on this sector could continue.

Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, in weekly briefing, said the issue is under discussion between the two countries and expressed the hope that it will be resolved very soon so that the trade between the two parts of Kashmir could be resumed without delay. She said investigations are underway regarding presence of narcotics in one of the trucks being used for intra-Kashmir trade, adding that the driver may be innocent.

The spokesperson said such incidents should not be repeated in future so that the trade is not disturbed. Replying to a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan had not received any information regarding the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan in March this year. She said Indian minister for trade will be visiting Pakistan next month from February 16-18 and this will be part of India Trade Show, being held in Lahore during these dates.

Welcoming the statement of Indian Minister for External Affairs Salman Khursheed to resolve the issue through bilateral discussion, the spokesperson said Pakistan has repeatedly said that both the countries need to resume dialogue process without any delay for meaningful and result-oriented talks for resolving bilateral issues including Kashmir.

Regarding options to resolve Kashmir issue, she said there are many options being discussed between the two countries and the most important is the implementation on the resolution of Security Council of United Nations on the Kashmir issue. Replying to a question on recent Pak-US strategic dialogue, the spokesperson said both the countries had agreed on a number of things to further enhance the cooperation in different areas including energy and trade.

She said both the countries had agreed for enhanced economic growth, trade and investment, and a meeting in this regard, will be held in Washington in March. The spokesperson said meeting of join business and economic forum will also be held very soon and the next meeting of business forum of the two countries will be held in Islamabad as the last one was held in Dubai. She said both the countries also agreed to hold meetings of remaining two groups on finance and counter terrorism very soon.

Replying to a question, she clarified that issue of Dr Shakeel Afridi was not discussed in these strategic dialogue as it is the internal issue of Pakistan and it will be dealt in accordance with Pakistani laws. She said the issue of cross-border infiltration was also not discussed in this strategic dialogue between Pakistan and United States. Appreciating the statement of President Obama in his State of the Union Address on drone, the spokesperson said it means that Pakistan's point of view has been accepted which was conveyed to American and international community by Pakistan at various occasions that drone strikes are not producing positive results.

Referring to talks of Afghanistan with any other country, the spokesperson said Afghanistan is an independent country and can talk to any other country for development but Pakistan's concern is that its soil should not be used against Pakistan. She said this concern has been conveyed by Pakistan to all stakeholders. Answering a question on Pakistan-Saudi relations, the spokesperson said during the recent visit of Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal to Pakistan, he indicated interest in many fields to promote bilateral ties including defence cooperation.

End.

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