ISLAMABAD - Dismissing the impression that Pakistan has perhaps put its weight behind Iran’s Syria-initiative ahead of the extraordinary meeting of Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Foreign Office spokesman Friday said the statement made by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar conveyed Islamabad’s position very clearly.

“We are obviously concerned over the deteriorating situation in Syria and want a peaceful resolution of the issue based on the principles of non-intervention, non-interference and of course non use of force,” Muazzam Khan told weekly press conference.

“Foreign Minister Khar went to Tehran to attend the Consultative Ministerial Conference on Syria. You must have seen her statement, which conveys our position very clearly. Therefore, there is no question of Pakistan’s tilt towards pro-Saudi or pro-Iranian position,” he told the questioner.

Khan also rejected any linkage of recently-released US fund of $280 million for the energy sector of Pakistan after Islamabad’s assurances to Washington that it will not pursue with the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.

“Let me tell you categorically that there is no linkage whatsoever. Yes you are right that US$ 280 million have been released under the Kerry-Luger Bill for the upgradation of Mangla and Kurram-Tangi dams. But there is no linkage between the two,” he added.

On Pak-US relations after the recent visit of ISI DG Lt-Gen Zahirul Islam to the United States, the spokesman said there were certain proposals under consideration. “What I can tell you is that we are working on various proposals”, he said without going into specifics.

Answering a question about Indian Supreme Court statement that Pakistan was not sharing information about the nationality of more than 26 prisoners, the spokesman said there was an established mechanism of ascertaining or certifying the nationality of the prisoners.

To another question, the spokesman said Pakistan and Afghanistan were mutually working out schedule of the visit of Afghan High Peace Council Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani to Pakistan in order to push forward the peace and reconciliation process.

“As you know, during his recent visit to Afghanistan, Prime Minister Ashraf extended an invitation to the High Peace Council to visit Pakistan. Of course, we attach a lot of importance to their visit to Pakistan. So, basically there is a scheduling problem as the both sides are working to chalk out a mutually convenient date. I don’t see anything beyond that,” he explained.

The spokesman dismissed the impression that Pakistan was keeping terrible silence about the plight of hundreds and thousands of Muslims being killed in Myanmar. “We are deeply concerned about the situation in Myanmar. If you remember in the last briefing, we made our position very clear on that,” he concluded.

AFP adds: Pakistan and Afghanistan are in talks on the release of a key member of the Taliban, whose 2010 arrest in Pakistan was blamed for sabotaging peace initiatives, Khan confirmed at the press briefing.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a powerful Taliban military chief who has been described as the militia’s second in command, was arrested in Karachi.

The Afghan government and a former UN envoy to Afghanistan said his detention had adversely affected efforts to talk to the insurgents.

“The issue of prisoners is under discussion between the two countries,” Khan told reporters when asked to comment on Afghan demands for access to Baradar and for his release.

The spokesman did not name any prisoner or give further details, but when asked, confirmed that Baradar was still in Pakistani custody.

A senior security official told AFP that no agreement had been reached to release Mullah Baradar.

“Pakistan may give Afghan officials an access to Mullah Baradar but no deal is being made as such” to release him, he said on condition of anonymity.

Baradar is the most important Taliban leader to be captured since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Afghan militia from power in Kabul.

He was known as a trusted aide to the Taliban’s elusive leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Shortly after Baradar’s arrest, the Pentagon said two other Taliban officials were arrested, also understood to have been captured in Pakistan.

In March 2010, Kai Eide, the then just retired UN envoy to Afghanistan, said the arrest of key Taliban in Pakistan had stopped a secret channel of communication between the insurgents and the United Nations.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly invited the Taliban to open direct talks with his government and on Pakistan to facilitate an end to the 10-year war.

Pakistan has said it will do anything required by Kabul to support an Afghan-led peace process, but there is a wide degree of scepticism in Afghanistan and the United States about the sincerity of the former Taliban ally.