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Pak to challenge India's nominee

Islamabad believes New Delhi fielding a candidate indicates that it has given up its bid for a permanent seat in UNSC.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 17:06 IST

Pakistan has indicated that it is likely to challenge the Indian nominee for the UN Secretary General post Shashi Tharoor.

Islamabad believes that his candidature showed New Delhi giving up its bid for a permanent seat in the Security Council, a claim rejected by India.

Islamabad believes that New Delhi fielding a candidate for the post of UN Secretary-General clearly indicates that it has given up its bid for a permanent seat in the Security Council for lack of support, its Ambassador Munir Akram told reporters after India announced Tharoor's nomination for the post.

It is a tradition that permanent members of UNSC or countries aspiring to be its permanent members do not field candidates for the post of UN Secretary General, he said, adding he did not know India's mind but this was the view of the diplomatic community in United Nations.

If those aspiring to become permanent members field a candidate, it is clear that they have come to the conclusion that they are unlikely to achieve their objective in the near future, he said.

Indian Ambassador to the UN Nirupam Sen rejected Akram's contention, stressing that the two issues are "unrelated" and that New Delhi would continue to vigorously pursue its ambition to join the exclusive club in the 15-member Council.

Pakistan, Sen pointed out, is a member of the "Coffee Club" which opposes expansion of permanent seats in the Council and hence tries to fit everything in that light.

"...They (Pakistan) would quite naturally read such a message even if there is no such message and quite clearly there isn't such a message because I think the two are unrelated because we are not yet permanent members.

"So, we have every right to put forward a candidature and certainly we are going to pursue the permanent membership of India and indeed a comprehensive reform of the Security Council," he said.

Akram also indicated that Pakistan is likely to field a candidate but declined to name.
Islamabad, Akram said, has been considering the issue for quite sometime but New Delhi's action would "precipitate" the process not only in Pakistan but in other countries also.

But, he said, this should not been seen in terms of Indo-Pakistan rivalry as each nation considers it an honour if it could lead the world body.

Asked whether he expects to be selected by his country, he replied, "the announcement would be made in Islamabad." Akram and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz are being mentioned as possible Pakistani candidates.

Akram said he expects a wide slate of candidate for the Security Council to make a selection, a process he described as elimination rather than election.

As the Council starts considering the names, it would go on eliminating candidates through straw (informal) polls and discussions and it is hoped that it finally decides on a candidate who enjoys wide support among the member states.