Pak Affairs

Zardari will visit China on Feb 20

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari is to pay a four day visit to China from 20th of this month. Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said at the weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday that the visit will provide an opportunity to both sides to explore avenues of economic cooperation and investment especially in agriculture, industry and energy sectors.

The President will visit three regions of China that are industrial hubs of that country. The spokesman said the visit would further strengthen the time tested friendship between Pakistan and China and deepen our multi-faceted strategic and economic cooperation.

Asked about signing of any agreements during the visit, he said the details of his programme in China are being worked out but no agreement is likely to be signed. Replying to a question the spokesman said Pakistan has formally conveyed to India its response to the information provided by New Delhi on Mumbai attack. He said that Pakistan’s response to the Indian dossier on Mumbai attacks demonstrates our sincerity and commitment to fight against terrorism.

He said this reflective of Pakistan’s sincerity to bring perpetrators of Mumbai attacks to justice. He said that Pakistan’s findings clearly show that the country is serious and sincere in its investigations and hoped that India would reciprocate with the same spirit of cooperation.

To a question the spokesman said the issue of Dr. A.Q. Khan’s release on the order of the court came under discussions during talks with US Special Representative Richard Holbrooke. Pakistan told the United States that A.Q. Khan issues was a closed chapter and it was counter productive to speculate on the court judgment. Pakistan also reiterated its commitment to non-proliferation adding that necessary legislative and administrative measures have been taken to ensure effective export control and prevent possibility of proliferation.

He said the United States understands Pakistan’s position and accepts it. To another question he said Dr. Khan has no access to any strategic facility, enjoys no official status and he has nothing to do with the country’s nuclear programme any more.

The spokesman told a questioner that Pakistan was making efforts for release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and hoped these would yield positive results. The spokesman condemned recent kidnapping of UNHCR official from Quetta and said efforts are on for his safe release.

To a question he said relevant Pakistani authorities have yet to confirm the killing of the Polish engineer. To a question the spokesman said terms of reference of the UN Inquiry Commission into the assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto were finalized in consultation with Pakistan. He said Pakistan would pay the seed money while other members of the UN would make contributions to defray cost of the inquiry. He said the amount of the seed money is being worked out.-SANA

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Tariq Aftab Hussain

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