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Dates out for talks on bus links

January 19, 2004 21:17 IST

Pakistan on Monday offered to host talks with India on starting bus services between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) as well as Khokhrapar (Rajasthan) and Munabao (Sindh province).

"The cabinet of Pakistan has offered to India to host technical-level talks on the Khokhrapar-Munabao bus service on March 8 to 9 and Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service in March 29 and 30 respectively," foreign ministry spokesperson Masood Khan said in Islamabad.

With regard to the proposed composite dialogue to be held next month, Khan said, "The dates, venue, level and agenda are being worked out through the diplomatic channels between the two countries."

There was a road link between Khokhrapar and Munabao till the late seventies. The Sindh and Rajasthan provinces also had a rail link before it was terminated in 1976.

Khan also allayed fears that Pakistan had compromised on its stand on the Kashmir issue by agreeing to talk to India.

"Our position on Kashmir remains clear and consistent," he said.

"Do not draw any conclusions because of the engagement between the president of Pakistan and prime minister of India on January 5. It was a historic movement. We want a breakthrough, a solution and a movement towards solution. Unless India and Pakistan sit together to discuss all the issues threadbare and address them in totality we will have no resolution of Kashmir dispute," he said.

On the proposed talks between Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, he said Pakistan itself was hopeful of holding talks with Kashmiri leaders.

"We hope that we have meaningful talks and consultations with Kashmiri leadership. But at the same time no talks can succeed unless there is concurrence between India and Pakistan. Pakistan cannot be excluded from any process of dialogue," he said.

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