NATIONAL

Indo-Pak. dialogue must begin: Musharraf

BEIJING NOV. 1. The Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, has said dialogue between India and Pakistan "must start" and he does not expect a major breakthrough in bilateral ties immediately.

``We are not expecting an immediate breakthrough or solution. But a meaningful dialogue must start,'' Mr. Musharraf told China Daily, prior to his five-day visit to China beginning today.

``I would like to see relations between Pakistan and India improve at a faster pace,'' he was quoted in a front-page article.

``We are looking forward to holding the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Islamabad in January. We hope for positive results,'' he said, asked to comment on Islamabad's relations with New Delhi.

On India's close ties with the United States, he said it did not affect Islamabad's relations with Washington. ``U.S. relations with any other country will have no effect on our relations with it,'' he said.

``Since the terrible events of September 11, Pakistan-U.S. relations have gained a new vigour,'' he said, adding that ``we are developing a broad-based and long-term relationship with the U.S.''

PTI

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