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China not part of Kashmir process: Pakistan

K J M Varma in Islamabad | April 04, 2006 21:04 IST

Pakistan, on Tuesday, rejected a suggestion by moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq to make China, which has a portion of Jammu and Kashmir [Images] under its control, a party for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

"According to United Nations resolutions there are only two parties to the Kashmir dispute - Pakistan and India. Of course, Kashmiris are a party; it is question of their self-determination," Tasnim Aslam, Pakistan foreign office spokesperson told reporters.

She was reacting to Farooq's remarks in an address to the World Social Forum in Karachi last week that China should also be made a party for resolving the Kashmir issue, as it controlled a portion of the state. Farooq was apparently referring to Aksai Chin, a part of Ladakh, ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963.

Aslam said Farooq did not refer to the territory under Chinese control. She said his argument was that 'China was a big player, being largest and influential country in this region. That is why it has to be associated with the peace process'.

Asked about the continuing missile race between India and Pakistan, she said that the peace process is not about reduction of tension but about resolution of disputes. "Naturally when we have movement towards resolution of disputes, there will be reduction in tension and we do hope there would not be any arms race. We conduct missile tests as part of minimum credible deterrence and we will continue to work on that," she said.

Aslam claimed that Pakistan has been told that India was working on reducing alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

"If you go by the statements of Indian leaders, they accept that there is no infiltration now and it has come down. Consequently we expect that human rights violations would also come down.... That is why we had repeatedly talked about demilitarisation, or at least de-induction of troops from big urban centres to rural areas," she said.

On efforts to improve visa facilities between both the countries by reopening consulates, she said Pakistan has not yet located a place in Mumbai to reopen its consulate there.

About US' plans to apply for observer status of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, she said Pakistan has no information from the SAARC secretariat about any US application.

The SAARC standing committee would meet in about ten days to work out criteria for countries wanting to join as observers, in addition to China and Japan [Images] who have been admitted as observers during the last summit in Dhaka, she said.

"The first thing will be to lay down criteria, admit China and Japan as observers and then we proceed on other applications," she said. Asked about chances of admitting Iran as observer, she said it is a hypothetical question.

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