Progress on Kashmir not at 'desired pace': Pak

Progress on Kashmir not at 'desired pace': Pak

"There have been confidence building measures on the Kashmir issue, but unfortunately, things have not moved at the desired pace," Pakistan's Additional Foreign Secretary Asia-Pacific, Masood Khalid, told a group of visiting Sri Lankan Journalists in Islamabad.

"The alienation of Kashmiris has to be addressed and Pakistan is agreeable to a meaningful and purported dialogue on the issue," Khalid was quoted as saying by 'Island' newspaper here.

On Sri Lanka, he expressed Pakistan's happiness at the LTTE threat being eliminated and said Islamabad hoped that South Asia as a whole could be turned into a peaceful and prosperous region.

Khalid said he was pleased to note that his country's defence assistance to Sri Lanka, including training, had helped it in its military operations against the LTTE.

"We are happy that Sri Lanka has resolved the LTTE issue and fully support its development, peace and stability," Khalid was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

"South Asia as a whole, has been in turmoil and we desire peace and stability. This has been our point of emphasis," he said.

A peaceful and stable neighbourhood will help South Asian countries focus on important issues such as economic development and better health and welfare facilities for its people, Khalid said.

On the question of Pakistan helping eliminate the remaining LTTE presence in various foreign countries, he said that his government was already occupied with battling internal militancy issues.

But as a matter of principle, Pakistan considers terrorism a regional issue and has entered into security treaties with various countries, aimed at eradicating the menace, Khalid said.

Sri Lanka-Pakistan relations could be taken to greater heights by improving people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges, he was quoted as saying by the paper.