No need for cajoling on anti-terror fight: Hina

NUSA DUA (INDONESIA) — Pakistan’s foreign minister, who held talks on Saturday with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said the two countries shared the strategic objective of combating terror groups and Islamabad did not need any cajoling on the issue.

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Published: Mon 25 Jul 2011, 12:42 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:14 PM

Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s first female and youngest-ever foreign minister, also told reporters on the sidelines of an Asian security conference that she expected positive results from a meeting with her Indian counterpart next week, in what could be a major turning point in ties between the two countries since they resumed peace talks earlier this year. Asked if Clinton prodded her on tackling militants operating from within Pakistan, Khar said: “We have the same strategic objective.

“Pakistan is the first one to suffer because of terrorism, because of militancy. Pakistan is doing it for itself. You don’t need cajoling on that, that is in our national interest.”

On her talks with Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna scheduled for Wednesday in New Delhi, Khar said: “My expectation is to have positive development in our relationship with India.”

It has been a baptism by fire for Khar, who was appointed to the post just this week, after five months as junior foreign minister. Besides Clinton, she also met Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on the sidelines of the security forum in Indonesia. The meeting with Krishna will put her at the forefront of a complex, mutually antagonistic and volatile relationship between two nuclear-armed powers.

Pakistan and India, which have fought three full-scale wars since independence in 1947, two over the disputed region of Kashmir, resumed a formal peace process in February, which was broken off after the November 2008 attack on Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants that killed 166 people. Bomb attacks in Mumbai earlier this month killed 18 people and injured over 130, but security forces have said local militant groups are the prime suspects.

Khar, 34, also said she was comfortable about being in a senior post at a young age in conservative Pakistan. “Our culture reveres anyone who has the ability to work for the country and young or old does not make such a difference as much as what your approach is, what your goals are and as much as how you approach a problem,” she said. — Reuters

Afzal Khan adds from Islamabad: Speaking to a private Pakistani news channel the foreign minister on Saturday declared Pakistan-India talks as a positive step and said India was serious over the composite dialogue process.

She said the priority of her government in the conference with India was to set a future direction in the bilateral relationship.

Khar is due to meet her Indian counterpart S M Krishna in New Delhi on July 27. Foreign secretaries of the two countries will meet a day earlier.

Highlighting Pakistan’s position during the upcoming talks with India, she said the government wanted to “look at the entire picture and at the root causes of problems”. It was the success of Pakistan to bring India back to the negotiating table, she said.

She said during the talks with Indian external affairs minister, the two sides will take stock of progress made at secretary-level talks.

She said Pakistan was pro-actively engaging with neighbouring countries, particularly Afghanistan and India, to achieve sustainable peace and stability in the region.

To a question regarding the arrest of Kashmiri leader Ghulam Nabi Fai in the US on the charges of working for Pakistani intelligence agencies, Khar said Fai was a US citizen and “he will be able to resolve his present problem within the available system”.

mafzalkhan@yahoo.com



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