LONDON, June 18: President Pervez Musharraf has said the government was striving to build a modern, tolerant and Islamic state.

He was speaking at a dinner hosted in his honour by Lord Chancellor Lord Faulkner at Lancaster House here late Tuesday.

“We are striving to build a modern, tolerant, progressive and enlightened Islamic state,” the president said.

He said Pakistan wanted peace and stability regionally and internationally, and added: “We wish to be a force for peace and stability and a worthy member of the world community.”

Pakistan, he said, was an “important bridge between the Islamic world and the West”.

Referring to his busy schedule on first day of his three-day visit to the United Kingdom, he said, it was a “constructive and fruitful day”.

“I attach great importance to remaining in touch and I have the highest regard for the prime minister’s observations and insights on so many shared objectives and concerns,” he said.

The president said during his meeting with British ministers on Tuesday, the two sides expressed hope for further enhancement of their cooperation.

“We reaffirmed our common commitment to combat and eradicate terrorism,” he added.

President Musharraf said Pakistan felt there was a need for a better understanding and recognition of the challenges the country faced due to its geo-strategic location. He said these challenges governed Pakistan’s policy options and choices.

He categorically stated that Pakistan would remain a key partner in the war against terror. “Pakistan is and will remain a key member of the global war against terror.”

Gen Musharraf said the strategic decisions Pakistan took after the Sept 11 events were consistent with its moral principles and national interest.

“Our unstinted support against terrorism will continue.”

Referring to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, he described it as a major challenge, and said it remained the unfinished agenda of partition.

“Terrorism has not created the tragedy of Kashmir — Kashmir is about self-determination, about the aspirations of the Kashmiri people — about justice, equity and human rights.”

The president said he had always called for a serious, result-oriented and composite dialogue between Pakistan and India for the resolution of the Kashmir problem and all other differences that existed between the two countries.

Pakistan, he said, had welcomed the recent overtures from the Indian leadership to revive dialogue and hoped that “we would be able to work sincerely towards resolution of all our differences to secure a better future for the people of South Asia”.

He declared that Pakistan desired peace within the parameters of sovereign equality.—APP

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