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Pak denies freezing peace process
August 01, 2006 18:00 IST
Pakistan on Tuesday said there would be no freezing of peace process between Islamabad and New Delhi and added that the blasts in Mumbai or Karachi should not affect the process of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
''There would be no freezing of peace process, which is the only rational option for both Pakistan and India and it is in the good interest of the entire region,'' Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan told a press conference at Hotel Sheraton in Dhaka.
Referring to the meeting with his Indian counterpart Shyam Saran in Dhaka on Monday night, he said the Indian Foreign Secretary also reaffirmed India's commitment to the peace process.
''Although it was an informal but positive meeting, we reviewed where we stand and how we can move forward,'' he said, adding all issues relating to the peace process came up during the meeting.
He, however, said a fresh date for a foreign secretary-level meeting between the two countries has to be decided by host India.
Asked if Mumbai blast or Indo-Pak dispute over making SAFTA operational would deter the progress of SAARC, he said the two are different issues.
He said Pakistan is fully committed to South Asian regional cooperation and welcomed Afghanistan as a new member of the forum.
''There is a great virtue in enhancing regional cooperation and we would continue to work for the success of the SAARC process.'' Mr Khan said the Mumbai blasts were a wanton act of terrorism, which Pakistan strongly condemned from the highest political and official level.
Terming terrorism as a phenomenon that affects many regions including South Asia, Southeast Asia, West East, America and Europe, he said it has many layers at the domestic and international level.
''But our effort to fight against this common enemy must be enhanced and our mutual cooperation must be increased at bilateral as well as through SAARC.''
He questioned why SAARC should suffer because of Mumbai blasts or a blast in Karachi or any other capitals in the region by some motivated people and terrorists?
''SAARC process needs to be strengthened and the future of our region lies in this process,'' Mr Khan told a correspondent.