'Pak Foreign Office did not draft 2004 joint statement'
Pakistan's Foreign Office was not taken into confidence over the drafting of the 2004 joint Indo-Pak statement in which then former military ruler Pervez Musharraf assured Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that the country's territory would not be used for terrorism, according to Pakistan's ex-foreign secretary.
Islamabad: Pakistan's Foreign Office was not taken into confidence over the drafting of the 2004 joint Indo-Pak statement in which then former military ruler Pervez Musharraf assured Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that the country's territory would not be used for terrorism, according to Pakistan's ex-foreign secretary.
Ex-foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmed, speaking at a conference organised by Strategic Vision Institute, an Islamabad-based think-tank, said the Foreign Office was not involved in drafting of 2004 statement that led to the initiation of Composite Dialogue with India.
Speaking on the topic 'Flashpoint of the South Asian Security - A review of Political and Security Architecture in the sub-continent', Ahmed said that the statement issued on January 6, 2004 after a meeting between Musharraf and Vajpayee had included an assurance by the former that "he will not permit any territory under Pakistan's control to be used for terrorism in any manner."
"Gen Musharraf had in effect given an affidavit that there would be no cross border activity from Pakistani side. This could be implied as an admission that whatsoever happened in the past was Pakistan's fault," Ahmed was quoted as saying by Dawn.
Ahmed, who served as the foreign secretary from 1997-2000, recalled that on reading the statement, he doubted that it was the language of the Foreign Office.
"I asked the then foreign secretary, Riaz Khokhar, if the statement had been drafted by the Foreign Office and he told me that Tariq Aziz, a close aide of Musharraf, had given him that draft," Ahmed said.
Ahmed speculated that the statement could have come from Washington.
"This (terrorism accusations) has been a familiar narrative that India has been using against Pakistan since after 9/11, taking advantage of the global anti-terror sentiment and our own rulers' apologetic postures" in the face of India's campaign, the former secretary said.
While talking about the current situation, he warned the Pakistan government against making peace with India in a hurry.
"Peace that they want will not come by compromising on our principled positions. The region needs peace through constant engagement and not shady deals," Ahmed said.
The former foreign secretary said that India cannot be allowed to jeopardise Pakistan's vital interests in Afghanistan.
He feared an India-Pakistan proxy war in post-2014 Afghanistan that could have perilous security implications for the region and the rest of the world.