ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday categorically rejected the “false claims and tendentious remarks” by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson regarding the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) and Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
“Pakistan will continue to resolutely oppose Indian machinations and expose its anti-peace agenda imperiling regional peace and security,” Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said in a statement issued today.
According to a report, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had reiterated Pakistan’s invitation to India and other members of Saarc for the next summit in Islamabad. No Saarc summit has taken place since 2014.
In response to Qureshi’s remarks, Indian Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told the media on Thursday that it was “aware of the background” regarding why the summit had not been held since 2014.
“There has been no material change in the situation since then. Therefore, there is still no consensus that would permit holding of the summit,” he was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
During his media briefing, the Indian official was also asked about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s appeal to the international community to take action on the situation in IIOJK. According to the Hindustan Times report, Bagchi responded by saying that occupied Kashmir was “an inalienable and integral part of India”.
Asim Iftikhar addressed these comments and said India’s obstruction of the Saarc process was an established fact. “Motivated by its partisan reasons, and acting in violation of charter provisions requiring exclusion of bilateral issues, India was responsible for stymieing the 19th Saarc summit scheduled to take place in Pakistan in 2016,” he said.
The spokesperson added that India’s “myopic attitude” was rendering a valuable platform for regional cooperation increasingly dysfunctional.
“Pakistan hoped that India would review its self-serving approach and enable the Saarc process to move forward for the progress and prosperity of the peoples of South Asia,” the statement added.
Responding to Indian official’s comments regarding IOK, the FO spokesperson said that no amount of obfuscation and misrepresentation by Indian officials could hide India’s state-terrorism in IIOJK.
“The egregious violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people had been extensively documented by the international human rights machinery. In addition, Pakistan had shared several dossiers with the international community on India’s unabated human rights abuses in IIOJK and its state-terrorism against the Kashmiri people and in Pakistan,” the FO spokesperson said.
“India must abjure the use of state-terrorism as an instrument of policy. Pakistan will continue to resolutely oppose Indian machinations and expose its anti-peace agenda imperiling regional peace and security,” he added.