LAHORE, Dec 15: Federal Information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani says that the government has not backtracked from its principled stand on Kashmir and the opposition should not politicise the issue.

Speaking at the 17th annual international conference on family medicine, organised by the Pakistan Society of Family Physicians at the Aiwan-i-Iqbal here, the minister said that Kashmir was the jugular vein of Pakistan and the government was trying to solve the issue after taking Kashmiri people into confidence.

Responding to newsmen’s questions later, Durrani said that the MMA should not impose its decisions on its allies. On the announcement of opposition’s mass procession, he said it was their 23rd such announcement and if taken out would fail badly.

The minister ruled out the possibility of any deal with the PPP before the forthcoming elections. He said the ruling party would include nationalist groups from smaller provinces into the government after the elections. He said that all the PML-N members would soon join the PML and its leaders the PPP. He said the government would ensure that the elections were transparent.

He said that President Musharraf would take part in the elections in accordance with the constitution.

On Afghan president’s statement, the minister said Pakistan wanted `exemplary relationship’ with Kabul.

APP adds: The minister appreciated the role of doctors in the society, especially their services during relief activities in the earthquake-devastated areas of NWFP and Azad Kashmir.

When PSFP demanded a piece of land for the establishment of

College of Family Medicine, the minister asked the society to identify their requirements for the land and where they preferred to get it — either in Islamabad or Lahore.

Earlier, PSFP secretary-general Dr Tariq Mehmood Mian presented the annual performance report of the society. He said the society was fast growing due to its activities and its membership had risen to 5,000.

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