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|June 24, 1998||
Place Pak on watch list of terrorist nations, says Pallone
Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone expressed ''horror'' at the massacre of 25 people in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir and urged the United States to place Pakistan on its watch list of nations sponsoring terrorism till Islamabad ceases to support organisations like the Harkat-ul-Ansar which was responsible for the kidnapping of US and western nationals in Kashmir.
In a statement last night, he said the US should focus more attention on the role of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate for the recent wave of violence against Hindu civilians in the region.
''Pakistan's support for insurgency in Kashmir goes far beyond that country's claim of only providing diplomatic and moral support to separatist groups,'' Pallone said.
He called on top US diplomats to co-ordinate their efforts through the United Nations to address the cause of human rights of the Hindu community.
Pallone said he would write to the US ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke, US ambassador to India Richard Celeste and US ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva Nancy Rubin to focus more attention on the Hindu victims of the insurgency in Kashmir.
He also renewed his call for India to designate Kashmiri Pandit refugees as internally displaced people.
Pallone, founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, supported Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's plea for direct talks with Pakistan on all bilateral issues, including Kashmir, rejecting calls emanating from Washington and other world capitals for third party mediation.
''Direct talks between India and Pakistan are the best way to resolve differences over a wide range of issues, including Kashmir,'' Pallone said, adding, ''the Shimla accord, to which both countries are signatories, provides for any talks on Kashmir to be bilateral''.
He said Pakistan had for some years been engaged in a dual strategy to enhance its position in Kashmir, trying to bring outside negotiators, most notably the United States, while continuing to support terrorists''.
''Unfortunately, the recent nuclear tests by both countries and some serious misreading of the root causes of the current nuclear tensions, has given some momentum to the idea of outside intervention in Kashmir. I will continue to oppose these misguided efforts,'' he said.
Pallone also referred to a resolution pending in the US senate calling for UN mediation in Kashmir and said, ''It might be well-intentioned, but certainly misguided and unhelpful''.
He cited reliable reports suggesting a Pakistani hand in the instability and violence in Kashmir. Pakistan was sending in guerrilla forces, including Pakistani nationals, former servicemen and citizens of other nations in the valley to foment trouble, he said.
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