Exclusive interview with Pakistan Ambassador to China

By Gong Jie
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, January 7, 2010
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GJ: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization's rapid emergence has made it attractive to Pakistan. President Asif Ali Zardari has called for full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization to Pakistan. Why is Pakistan eager to join SCO?

MK: First, Shanghai Cooperation right now has many members from China and central Asia. We are next-door neighbors to them. We are part of this region. Second, the bond of geographic partners and inclusion of Pakistan as a member would strengthen the organization and strengthen the neighborhood. Shanghai Cooperation Organization primarily builds confidence, and it also tries to eliminate the forces of terrorism. And it also creates networks for cooperation and collaboration in the areas of peace, energy, transportation, trade. Therefore, Pakistan's inclusion would definitely push us. Pakistan has been fighting against terrorism and in this regard we need the cooperation from SCO countries, particularly from China and Central Asian countries. So I think that we should become part of SCO. Pakistan has been active in being an observer. We have been participating in all the events of SCO. In the middle of 2009, there was a meeting of SCO in Yekaterinburg, and our president, Zardari, attended that summit. In October, there was a meeting in Beijing, and our prime minister was there. So in a year's time, we participated in SCO-related summits at the level of heads of states and heads of governments. It showed our strong commitment to the aims of the organization.

GJ: As a member of Asia and a neighbor of Pakistan, we also care about the relations between Pakistan and India, which is always variable and sometimes troubled. I have seen the film Gandhi, too, and know that so many people are struggling to build a better relationship between your two countries. What do you think is the crucial problem between Pakistan and India? What do you see in the future for relations between the two countries?

MK: We all know that China has wise policy to have good relationships with its neighbors. We want the same. We want a peaceful and prosper [sic] Asia – that's why we continue to call on India to enter dialogue with us. After the Mumbai terrorism attack, India has cut off dialogue with Pakistan. We have been asking them to resume dialogue, so that we could address all the issues around the negotiating table – not to the media or not to just diplomatic communications, but to directly dialogue. We hope the Indian government will come back to negotiating table. You have asked what are the issues, and I want to say the main issue is Kashmir. We two countries are always under competition, and if we could address all the issues, we can change from competitors to cooperators. And Pakistan is always willing to have dialogue with India at anywhere, anytime.

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