Pak for free trade with India through SAARC process | india | Hindustan Times
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Pak for free trade with India through SAARC process

Pakistan would pursue free trade with India through the SAARC process without compromising on its stance on Kashmir, Pak Foreign Secretary said.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2003 15:12 IST

Pakistan would pursue free trade with India through the SAARC process without compromising on its stance on Kashmir, Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar said on Saturday.

"You must make a distinction between free trade in regional context and free trade in bilateral context. In principle we stand for free trade," he told a press conference in Islamabad when asked whether Pakistan was ready to abandon its previous policy of linking trade with India to progress on resolution of Kashmir issue.

"Until we are going to come for a final agreement, I cannot say how SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) will be implemented," Khokhar said.

Regarding Pakistan's policy on Kashmir, he said, "it has been clearly enunciated by President (Pervez Musharraf) and Prime Minister (Zafarullah Khan Jamali). We do not see any change in our position on Kashmir."

Asked whether Pakistan has decided not to raise the Kashmir issue during the forthcoming SAARC summit, Khokhar told the questioner he cannot recall when Islamabad raised Kashmir issue at previous SAARC summits.

To a question whether Kashmir would figure in Jamali's speech at the summit, he said "the speech is still being drafted. Let's see whether we can accommodate your request."