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Pakistan plays down Afghan-India strategic pact

By The Assam Tribune

ISLAMABAD, Oct 6 (IANS): Pakistan Thursday played down the strategic partnership agreement signed by Afghanistan and India by saying that Islamabad is not worried about the agreement as it is the sovereign right of any country to promote bilateral relations with any other country.

The agreement, signed Tuesday during Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit to New Delhi, will allow India to train and equip Afghan security forces.

Although Pakistan has avoided showing concern over the pact, analysts and section of Pakistani media say that it would cause concern in the country. Pakistan has also offered military training to the Afghan army but Kabul has not yet positively responded to the request, reported Xinhua.

"We would like to underscore the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region, and to achieve this we need to remain in a cooperative mode. We continue to look at the document that has been signed," Pakistan foreign ministry's spokesperson Tehmina Janjua said.

Asked whether the US is making India a "special favourite" in the region, she said: "As far as we are concerned, we see the regional situation in the context of ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan. We would like the situation in Afghanistan to calm down and ensure that there is peace and stability."

Speaking at the weekly press briefing, the spokesperson said it is the "sovereign right of any country to have the kind of bilateral relations which they wish".

The India-Afghanistan strategic partnership agreement has been signed at a time when relations between Islamabad and Kabul have been subjected to fresh tensions following the assassination of Afghan High Peace Council chief Burhanuddin Rabbani.

To a question about the assassination of Rabbani, Janjua said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had offered Pakistan's help in investigating the murder when he visited Kabul to offer his condolences to Rabbani's family and the Afghan leadership.

"Pakistan is ready to provide any kind of assistance that is requested by Afghanistan. This assistance would obviously be based on whatever evidence is provided to Pakistan," Janjua said.

She said Islamabad has so far received from Afghan officials only the confessional statement of an Afghan national arrested in connection with the assassination. The material provided by the Afghan government is being examined by Pakistani authorities, she added.

Afghan officials have alleged the plan to kill Rabbani was prepared in the Pakistani southwestern city of Quetta by the Afghan Taliban with the help of Pakistan's spy agency the Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI). Pakistan denied the charge.

"At this defining stage when challenges have multiplied as well as the opportunities, it is our expectation that everyone, especially those in position of authority in Afghanistan, will demonstrate requisite maturity and responsibility. This is no time for point-scoring, playing politics or grandstanding," the spokesperson said.

She stated that Pakistan is committed to peace, security and development in Afghanistan and continued its engagements with Afghan government and international community, adding that a number of statements from Washington in the recent days had indicated that America need cooperation with Pakistan and both the countries are working on it.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

Pakistan plays down Afghan-India strategic pact

ISLAMABAD, Oct 6 (IANS): Pakistan Thursday played down the strategic partnership agreement signed by Afghanistan and India by saying that Islamabad is not worried about the agreement as it is the sovereign right of any country to promote bilateral relations with any other country.

The agreement, signed Tuesday during Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit to New Delhi, will allow India to train and equip Afghan security forces.

Although Pakistan has avoided showing concern over the pact, analysts and section of Pakistani media say that it would cause concern in the country. Pakistan has also offered military training to the Afghan army but Kabul has not yet positively responded to the request, reported Xinhua.

"We would like to underscore the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region, and to achieve this we need to remain in a cooperative mode. We continue to look at the document that has been signed," Pakistan foreign ministry's spokesperson Tehmina Janjua said.

Asked whether the US is making India a "special favourite" in the region, she said: "As far as we are concerned, we see the regional situation in the context of ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan. We would like the situation in Afghanistan to calm down and ensure that there is peace and stability."

Speaking at the weekly press briefing, the spokesperson said it is the "sovereign right of any country to have the kind of bilateral relations which they wish".

The India-Afghanistan strategic partnership agreement has been signed at a time when relations between Islamabad and Kabul have been subjected to fresh tensions following the assassination of Afghan High Peace Council chief Burhanuddin Rabbani.

To a question about the assassination of Rabbani, Janjua said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had offered Pakistan's help in investigating the murder when he visited Kabul to offer his condolences to Rabbani's family and the Afghan leadership.

"Pakistan is ready to provide any kind of assistance that is requested by Afghanistan. This assistance would obviously be based on whatever evidence is provided to Pakistan," Janjua said.

She said Islamabad has so far received from Afghan officials only the confessional statement of an Afghan national arrested in connection with the assassination. The material provided by the Afghan government is being examined by Pakistani authorities, she added.

Afghan officials have alleged the plan to kill Rabbani was prepared in the Pakistani southwestern city of Quetta by the Afghan Taliban with the help of Pakistan's spy agency the Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI). Pakistan denied the charge.

"At this defining stage when challenges have multiplied as well as the opportunities, it is our expectation that everyone, especially those in position of authority in Afghanistan, will demonstrate requisite maturity and responsibility. This is no time for point-scoring, playing politics or grandstanding," the spokesperson said.

She stated that Pakistan is committed to peace, security and development in Afghanistan and continued its engagements with Afghan government and international community, adding that a number of statements from Washington in the recent days had indicated that America need cooperation with Pakistan and both the countries are working on it.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)