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December 10, 2001
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Pak media speculates over Karzai's visit to Pakistan

K J M Varma in Islamabad

With two key ministers of the new Afghan interim government visiting India even before they took over the reigns, a section of Pakistani media on Monday speculated that the interim administration head Hamid Karzai would shortly visit Pakistan.

Urdu newspaper Jang reported that Karzai may visit Pakistan before he moves to Kabul to head the interim administration on December 22.

The Jang report said Karzai, who resided in Pakistan for a while after he fled from Afghanistan a decade ago, would visit Quetta and Islamabad next week and that the Pakistan government proposed to extend full protocol as befitting the head of a government.

In an interview to Pakistan Television, Karzai said he would consider visiting Pakistan if an invitation was extended.

Another newspaper Nawai Waqt said Karzai has reportedly expressed displeasure over Afghan Interior Minister Younis Qanooni's visit to India and his critical remarks about Pakistan.

The paper said Karzai told the Northern Alliance leaders that such visits should not take place unless and until the new administration took over power on December 22.

According to the newspaper, Karzai was of the view that such visits were not in the interest of the new government.

According to Pakistani official sources, Karzai has clarified to the Pakistan government that Qanooni's remarks in New Delhi were his 'personal' views and did not represent policies of the Afghan government.

The visit of Qanooni to New Delhi and his statements asking Pakistan to desist from interfering in Afghanistan's affairs were prominently carried by the media in Islamabad.

PTI

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