Pak army stakeholder in talks with India: Khar

Lahore: Pakistan army is a "stakeholder" in the dialogue process with India and fully supports the initiative to improve bilateral ties, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said while claiming that Islamabad has not backtracked on the MFN issue.

Khar made the remarks when she was asked by reporters here on Saturday whether the army had been taken on board for the dialogue process with India and initiatives like the move to grant the Most Favoured Nation status to the neighbouring country.

The army, she said, was a "stakeholder in the dialogue process with India".

All of Pakistan`s national institutions, including the army, were "on board" for the dialogue process with India and fully support the initiative. The army and other national institutions are "supportive of the idea of improving relations with India", she said.

Referring to the Kashmir issue, Khar said Pakistan desired a result-oriented dialogue with India.

The country had achieved much more than was expected during the dialogue process, she remarked. "The cornerstone of our foreign policy is to develop friendly relations with our neighbours and we believe in a proactive, and not a reactive policy," Khar told reporters at the State Guest House here.

The Cabinet had approved a proposal for normalising trade ties with India and MFN status was a component of this process, Khar said.

She claimed that Pakistan has not backtracked on the issue of giving the MFN status to India. "There is an impression in the media that Pakistan made a decision (on MFN) and then backtracked. This is totally wrong. I want to tell you that we are consistent," Khar said.

"We are absolutely not backtracking. Pakistan is a responsible state and decision-making happens within a responsible environment," she said.

Officials of the two countries will work out modalities for normalising bilateral trade relations during upcoming engagements, Khar said.

Responding to a question on ties with Afghanistan, she said Pakistan would go out of its way to assist Kabul in investigating the assassination of former President Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Khar insisted that US drone attacks were counter- productive and inhibited Pakistan`s efforts in the war against terror.

Pakistan has been in the vanguard of the war against terror as well as it had made greatest sacrifices for the cause, she added.