The Post is to be commended for providing a forum for two senior journalists from Pakistan and India to debate issues of importance to our region {Mushahid Hussain, op-ed, July 29; Nambalat Menon, op-ed, Aug. 12}.

Readers will doubtless juxtapose the two presentations, but in the interest of factual accuracy, I would like to point out some errors in Mr. Menon's piece.

First, Mr. Menon's categorical assertion that "the government in Islamabad is not civilian" is not correct. I remind him that the independent observers, including worldwide media representatives, who witnessed the 1985 elections believe they were free and fair. Although some politicians who did not participate called for a boycott, more than 60 percent of voters went to the hustings and returned a government that has since restored all the requisites of a democracy, including a free press and an independent judiciary.

Second, on the nuclear issue, Mr. Menon ignored the proposals Pakistan has repeatedly offered to India. These are that Pakistan and India1) jointly sign the nonproliferation treaty, 2) declare South Asia a nuclear-weapons-free zone, 3) agree to mutual inspection of each other's nuclear facilities, 4) simultaneously accept complete International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards for all nuclear installations and 5) seek a binding declaration by the states of South Asia renouncing the acquisition or manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Regrettably, India has neither responded to these initiatives nor given any counterproposal. The issue of nonproliferation in South Asia can only be tackled on a regional and bilateral basis.


Press Counselor, Embassy of Pakistan