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Pakistan Ambassador: 'We Have to Forge Peace'

Pakistan Ambassador: 'We Have to Forge Peace'In a speech at Tufts’ Fletcher School, the Pakistani ambassador to the United States said that fighting terrorism is the only way to ensure his country’s economic future. Medford/Somerville, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.02.04] Just days after Pakistan's declaration that it will not allow inspections of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the country's ambassador to the United States -- Ashraf Jehanfir Qazi -- spoke at Tufts' Fletcher School. Addressing the war on terrorism, his country's relations with the U.S., and the precarious peace between India and Pakistan, the ambassador said that creating a more secure nation is essential to his country's economic future.

"If we want to lift people out of poverty we have to forge peace," said the ambassador - whose country was recently shaken by two attempts to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf.

Noting that Pakistan has a crucial role in the fight against al Qaeda, the ambassador stressed reduction of terrorist activity as a method to encourage economic activity in his country.

"Now we need to get investment, stability with Afghanistan, take out the extremists at home and overcome the impasse in parliament," Qazi said. "All of these things are going to provide a basis for attracting domestic investment and foreign direct investment in Pakistan."

The official said that his nation is working with American and Afghan troops in "hammer and anvil operations" to get rid of any remaining al Qaeda elements in the area, reported the Associated Press.

"The message has gone to militants and tribals that this type of action will not be tolerated," Qazi said. According to a BBC report, the ambassador reinforced Pakistan's commitment to the war on terror, saying Pakistan had "suffered more casualties than any other ally in the global war against terrorism."

The ambassador also told the Tufts audience that improving relations with India is another key priority for Pakistan. The two nations have been fighting over the fate of India's primarily Muslim portion of the Kashmir region. India charges Pakistan with encouraging guerilla fighting in the region since 1989 (in order to merge it with Pakistan or make it independent) - which Pakistan denies.

"[Kashmir is] a running sore between two countries," Qazi said. "We want to be able to place Kashmir within a context of improving relations with India and therefore throw the ball in India's court to reciprocate."

Pakistan's leaders, Qazi stressed, are committed to their country's stability. "[We have a] sense of direction with respect to our policy toward Afghanistan...and India and our economic and domestic policy."

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