Foreign office condemns knighthood to Rushdie
ISLAMABAD (June 19 2007): “British government’s decision to award knighthood to Salman Rushdie is insensitive to the sentiments of the Muslim around the world and Pakistan deplores it”, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said here on Monday.
“Salman Rushdie has tried to insult and malign Muslims through his writings and this had provoked very strong reaction and sentiments in the Muslim world,” she told her regular briefing at the Foreign Office on Monday.
She said the British government’s decision to knight Rushdie does not help efforts to bring about interfaith harmony and promote dialogue between different civilisations. Tasnim said ” our Parliament has passed a unanimous resolution calling upon Britain to withdraw its decision, and we will convey our sentiments to the British government.
PRESIDENT’S TWO OFFICES In reply to a question, Tasnim said that holding of two offices by President Musharraf is our internal matter which can be discussed and debated by the people of Pakistan and the outsiders should not comment upon it and we should not seek their comments.
Regarding opposition leaders meetings with the visiting dignitaries, she said this is a free country and as a self- respecting nation we have determine our own boundaries and decide what we can discuss with outsiders and what we should not discuss with outsiders.
She clarified that during their visit to Islamabad, US officials including Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte and Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher did not raise the issue of human rights violations in Pakistan with the government. “If you look at the reports of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, no country has perfect human rights record” she pointed out.
Regarding current status of Pakistan India peace process and composite dialogue, Tasnim said that there are many confidence buildings measures in place between Pakistan and India, though some of them need to be improved further.
She said that the institution of CBMs has created an environment, which is very conducive for moving towards settlement of disputes and differences. “We have tried to manage these problems, but now we feel that our relations have reached a stage which needs to move towards settlement of these issues.
She said that the international community including the United States supports peace process between Pakistan and India. She said that we have frequently been reminding the Indian government to share with Pakistan its findings of inquiry of the Samjhota train incident, but so far it has not done so.
The spokesperson said that Foreign Office regularly discusses with the US administration complaints of harassment by Pakistanis living in the United States, their immigration and visa problems.
Regarding demand of opposition leader Maulana Fazalur Rehman that Taliban should be included into the Pakistan-Afghanistan peace Jirga, the spokesperson said that it is upto the Afghanistan government and Afghan people to include Taliban in the peace Jirga.’ From our side we have included notable who can help in promoting stability and peace in the adjoining areas of our border” she emphasised.
She said it has been our long standing concern that refugees who went back to Afghanistan did not find security environment well enough to settle there and they start coming back to Pakistan.
She said ” this is a issue that we are rising with the international community and the UNHCR that the amount given to repatriated families should be increased so that they could restart their life again in a sustainable environment of peace and stability where have job opportunities and permanent settlements.
Source: Business Recorder