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Musharraf despatches special envoys to U.S., Europe

ISLAMABAD MAY 29. The Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, is sending five special envoys to the United States, Europe and several Muslim countries to explain Pakistan's standoff with India, officials said today.

The envoys, who met Gen. Musharraf for a briefing late yesterday, will carry his message that Pakistan does not want war with India and is ready to resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue.

The diplomatic offensive follows the General's nationwide broadcast on Monday in which he blamed India for the military standoff and vowed Pakistan would not initiate war.

Former President, Farooq Ahmed Leghari, has been asked to visit Russia and Germany to explain Pakistan's position on the long-running Kashmir issue and steps taken by Islamabad to de-escalate tensions with India, sources in Mr. Leghari's Millat Party said.

The officials said other special emissaries include former Senate chairman, Wasim Sajjad, former Foreign Secretary, Najmuddin Sheikh, ex-ambassador to India, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, and former army chief, Jehangir Karamat.

The destinations of the envoys, who are expected to leave tomorrow or Friday, would be announced later.

Press reports said Mr. Najmuddin Sheikh or Mr. Jehangir Qazi may visit the United States for talks with State Department officials and members of U.S. think tanks to explain Pakistan's stance on the row with India.

``The purpose of launching the diplomatic offensive is to elucidate that Pakistan is not responsible for the prevailing tension with India,'' The News daily said, quoting an official.

To relinquish one post

Gen. Musharraf has decided to relinquish charge of one post after the October elections.

He holds the office of the Chief of Army Staff and also the President of the country.

The Federal Information Minister of Pakistan, Nisar A. Memon, conveyed the decision today to the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) Chairman, Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, in Lahore.

The Minister met the ARD leader on the request of Gen. Musharraf who wanted to seek consultations with all opposition leaders who had earlier refused to talk to him.

The Minister, however, did not disclose which of the posts Gen. Musharraf would relinquish.

He said the President believed in transfer of power and had decided to relinquish charge of one post. _ AFP, UNI

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