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June 6, 2012

Khar renews call for apology over Salala attack

June 6, 2012

WASHINGTON: Pakistan on Tuesday renewed its call for a US apology over the killing of 24 soldiers in US warplane attacks at the Salala checkpost as Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar argued that higher principles should take precedence over politically popular considerations.
Khar challenged the US to live up to its democratic ideals by respecting the will of Pakistan’s elected legislature, Foreign Policy magazine said in a Doha-datelined report on its interview with the top Pakistani diplomat. “A representative parliament of 180 million people has spoken on one subject,” she told Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution’s US-Islamic World Forum. “[This is] something which should have been forthcoming the day this incident happened, and what a partnership not only demands, but requires,” she added.
“For us in Pakistan ... the most popular thing to do right now is not to move on Nato supply routes at all. It is to close them forever,” she says. “If I were a political adviser to the prime minister, this is what I would advise him to do. But I’m not advising him to do that. One, I’m not his political adviser. And two, because what is at stake is much more important for Pakistan than just winning an election.”
“If you are creating 10 more targets for every target you take, are you doing a service or a disservice to your eventual goal of winning the war?” she asked.
The foreign minister, speaking in the context of Pakistani parliamentary recommendations on the future course of relations with the United States, contended the US should come up with something “so we can say that yes, the aspirations and the will of the people of Pakistan are respected”.
According to the report, the latest challenge for the US-Pakistani relationship is embodied by sentencing of Dr Shakil Afridi. “Clearly, my advice at this point is that we don’t need to blow this out of proportion at all,” Khar said, emphasizing Afridi has two appeals

of the judgment available to him. “But I would certainly not want this particular issue to cast a shadow over the relationship,” she adds.
Separately, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay held a meeting with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar here.
She briefed the high commissioner on the commitment of the democratic government to the promotion and protection of human rights of all citizens. She said since the restoration of democracy in 2008, the government had been endeavouring to create an inclusive and rights-based society.
“An elected parliament, an independent judiciary, a free media and a vibrant civil
society provide safeguards for protection of rights of all
segments of society,” she added.
The foreign minister also briefed the high commissioner on recent legislation passed for the protection of women’s rights and on the establishment of the National Commission for Human Rights.
FM Khar drew the attention to human rights violations in the Indian occupied Kashmir, including the discovery of mass graves and urged the UN high commissioner to use her good offices for the promotion and protection of the human rights of the Kashmiri people.

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