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July 22, 1999
Return our territory, Pak tells India
Raja Ashgar in Islamabad
Pakistan has asked India to give back territory that Islamabad alleges the Indian forces had been seizing since 1972 on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control, to restore trust after the latest Kashmir crisis.
The demand was made by Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz in a speech to parliament after a debate on Pakistan's disengagement of forces in Kargil, which 'ended' the worst military stand-off between the two countries in 30 years.
''We demand that India undo its violations of the LoC committed in 1972, 1984 and 1998 to restore trust,'' Aziz said.
Aziz's speech was a reply to Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, who yesterday offered peace talks with Pakistan but said their pace would depend on restoring trust after the two rivals went to the brink of war last month.
''India cannot expect Pakistan to respect the Line of Control but itself continue to violate it by moving into (Pakistan-held) Azad (free) Kashmir,'' Aziz said.
''If India is in any doubt about these violations, a joint team of experts, with assistance from the UN military observers group (in India, Pakistan), can verify the exact nature and extent of the violations in the next two or three weeks.''
Aziz made his speech on the eve of a visit to Helsinki and London where he was expected to seek support from Finland, the current European Union president, and Britain in getting talks started with India on the 52-year Kashmir dispute.
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