Pakistan says India using terror as 'propaganda tool'

"I must with regret say that India is using terrorism as a propaganda tool against Pakistan and there is a long history to this.

"This is a strategic plank they have used against Pakistan," Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said.

The two countries have long-standing issues, including core issue of Kashmir, and "tensions will continue in some form or the other till there is a just solution" to these problems, Bashir said in an interview to Aaj News channel.

Bashir made the remarks while responding to questions on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's silence on the Mumbai terror attacks during his recent visit to India and Pakistan's expectations about the role that China could play in easing tensions with India.

Pakistan had condemned the Mumbai incident and "cooperated totally" with India in the probe into the terrorist assault, he said.

"There is no need to make this issue a propaganda tool. If Indian media is raising this, the Indian leadership should make the people aware of the reality," he said.

"Terrorism is not a localised disease, it is a big global issue. There is no other example around the world of a country prosecuting the anti-terror campaign as effectively as Pakistan," Bashir added.

Contending that there was widespread concern about human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, Bashir said: "We want the composite dialogue process and the full peace process to be resumed".

"This has not been possible for different reasons. We hope that bilateral process of composite dialogue is resumed (because it) is necessary".

India had suspended the composite dialogue process in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack and Pakistan has been insisting that it be resumed.

Bashir further contended that a "wrong impression" has been created that "India is in a different league" in terms of its "nuclear programmes or exemptions given to India", whereas Pakistan is "being linked to the Afghanistan problem".

He said, "It's quite clear that this impression is false. Pakistan, India and other countries in South Asia and the region's population of over one billion people cannot be geographically separated," he added.

"If we want development, peace and cooperation in the region, it is imperative that Pakistan and India, which are important countries, should understand their responsibilities and resolve their problems on the basis of equality and mutual respect," Bashir said.

Both countries are "nuclear powers and no one can deny the issue of strategic stability in South Asia is vital", he noted.

Pakistan feels it will be "a good thing" if its friends like China can help in this process, he added.

He also said, "China is a global power but it has a special awareness that peace and security in Asia is very necessary. China understands India and Pakistan are important for peace and security in the region".

At the same time, Bashir said Pakistan has "no objections" if India is seen as a major power in Asia and outside the region".

"We want the progress and prosperity of India but at same time, we want just solutions (to problems) and durable peace in the region," he said.

Comments (+)