- LAHORE (Dispatches)
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri has said that Pakistan
is strictly opposed to any U.S. attack on Iran and will stand by Tehran
if this extreme step is taken by Washington.
- "Iranian foreign minister's statement during his
recent visit to Pakistan provides testimony to our policy towards Tehran.
Pakistan aspires to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue according to the
principles of the International Atomic Energy Agency," Kasuri said
while talking to reporters in his hometown, Kasur.
- Kasuri said that neglecting defence would be a suicide
in the present scenario and Pakistan would acquire the latest technology
and defense equipment at all costs to maintain a balance of power in the
- The deferred purchase of F-16s has started, as this was
put on hold only for coping with the situation arising out of the October
8 earthquake, he said.
- The foreign minister said Pakistan has categorically
told the United States that only the latest version of F-16s would be accepted
and has also imposed the condition of transfer of technology.
- Pointing out that India had signed agreements with Russia,
the US and other countries to pile up weapons, Kasuri said this situation
forced Pakistan to consider every option for its survival.
- Kasuri said Pakistan is examining the situation carefully
and has taken many steps to counter any situation. The entry into the Asean
and improvement in relations with the European Union are some of these
steps, he said.
- On the Kashmir issue, Kasuri said Pakistan has shown
flexibility and her efforts made possible the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus
service, visits of Kashmiri leaders from both sides and opening of five
points at the Line of Control for the relief of quake victims.
- "But all this is unilateral and Pakistan has made
it clear to India that this was maximum we can do and Pakistan cannot go
beyond this. India will have to soften its stand on Kashmir because this
issue could be solved only through reciprocal process," he said.
- About Israel, Kasuri declared that Pakistan would not
establish diplomatic contacts with Israel till it recognizes Palestine
as an independent state.