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Appointment of high commissioner to India not final: Pakistan

May 18, 2003 15:53 IST

The appointment of Riaz Mohammed Khan as the envoy to India is not final, Pakistan foreign office said in a statement on Sunday.

On Saturday night state-run Pakistan Television reported that Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has appointed Khan, the ambassador to China, as its new high commissioner to India.

The foreign office statement said Jamali has been 'wrongly quoted'. In an extraordinary clarification issued at 0200 hours PST through the official APP news agency, six hours after the initial announcement, a foreign office spokesman said the final decision has not been taken as yet by the prime minister.

Khan told the Pakistan media in Beijing that he has not yet been officially informed about his new assignment. He said he has received many requests from various journalists but refused to comment until he assumed charge.

The official clarification, however, did not deny Khan's appointment to the post but only 'clarified' that no decision has been made in this regard.

The clarification reportedly followed criticism that Jamali chose to announce Khan's nomination even before India had formally accepted his name.

India officially announced the appointment of Shiv Shankar Menon as its new high commissioner to Pakistan only after Islamabad approved his credentials.

Meanwhile, Khan said efforts must be made to resume dialogue between India and Pakistan, which should cover not only Kashmir, but all outstanding issues.

He hoped talks will lead to an 'improved' environment between the two countries. He, however, cautioned against expecting an early breakthrough on Kashmir.

"Given the history of the Kashmir dispute, the prospects of an early solution are slim," he said in an interview to the state-run China Central Television (CCTV) this week.

K J M Varma in Islamabad
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