The Nation (Pakistan) : Conditional aid not in favour of Pak-US ties: FO

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Conditional aid not in favour of Pak-US ties: FO

SHAIQ HUSSAIN | December 19, 2007

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has said that Commonwealth will review the decision after the general elections in the country and it has been conveyed to Islamabad.
Addressing his weekly Press briefing here Wednesday, Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq said that Commonwealth had taken the decision in a haste without considering the ground realities like restoration of the Constitution and democracy.

When asked to comment on US House of Representatives’ bill linking conditionalities with aid for Pakistan, the spokesman said that any condition attached to the assistance programme would not affect the relationship between the two countries. He said Pak-US relationship served the interests of peace, stability and progress in the region and Pakistan will remain engaged with the US administration and Congress on vital issues.

He added the Commonwealth has sent a request for election observers’ visit but so far no decision has been taken on the request.

He also said that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will arrive here on December 26 on a two-day visit to discuss bilateral issues and cooperation in war on terror with top Pakistani leadership.

The Afghan President is arriving here at the invitation of President Pervez Musharraf. “It is essentially a goodwill visit meant to express solidarity with Pakistan,” he said.

President Karzai, he said, is the second head of state paying visit to Pakistan after elections of Pervez Musharraf as the civilian president. Before him, the Turkish President visited Pakistan on the invitation of his Pakistani counterpart.

He said the Afghan President will meet President Musharraf and the Caretaker Prime Minister Muhammadmian Soomro and their discussions would focus on bilateral relations, reconstruction of Afghanistan, war on terror as well as regional and international situations.

Answering a query, he said inquiry report on escape of Rashid Rauf, the British terror suspect, from police custody, is likely to be released by the Interior Ministry today. He said that there is no extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK, though the British government has asked for Rauf’s extradition.

Answering another question, Sadiq termed the statement of Indian Security Advisor M K Narayan regarding Pakistan’s involvement in the terrorism as baseless. He also said that Pakistan would not allow any one to use its territory for subversive acts against any other state.

To another question, he said that National Command Authority headed by President Pervez Musharraf is an important institution meant for the protection of country’s nuclear assets. He added that multiple arrangements have been carried out for the security of strategic assets.

To a question, he said Pakistan would not allow any other country to act on Pakistani territory against extremism. “Pakistani forces will take such action as they are fully capable and willing to do that,” he said.