Modi interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs, say officials

WASHINGTON: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statement violates all United Nations and international charters against non-interference in internal affairs of other countries, Fore­ign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said in an interview with Dawn on Saturday.

And Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Washington, believes that Mr Modi’s statement shows India’s nervousness with the situation in held Kashmir.

Responding to Mr Modi’s address in Kerala on Saturday, the two diplomats said several UN resolutions recognised Pakistan as a party to the Kashmir dispute and India too recognised that status. But India has no justification for interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

Mr Chaudhry said it was unfortunate that the Indian leadership “continues to indulge in a vilification campaign against Pakis­tan by making provocative statements and hurling baseless accusations”.

He said that such display of irresponsible behaviour at the highest political level was regrettable.

“It is evident that, as an act of desperation, India is trying to distract world attention from the atrocities perpetrated by its occupation forces against innocent and defenceless Kash­miris, including women and children,” Mr Chaudhry said.

Foreign secretary says India trying to distract world attention from excesses in Valley

He noted that Indian atrocities had intensified since the extrajudicial killing of Kash­miri youth leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani in July. “Over the last 75 days, Indian occupation forces have martyred more than 100 Kashmiris, blinded hundreds and injured thousands.”

The foreign secretary said that while casting aspersions on Pakistan, India continued to “sponsor terrorism in Pakistan directly through its state apparatus”. The arrest and confessional statement of a serving Indian navy officer and intelligence operative, Kulbhushan Jhadav, had proved India’s involvement, he added.

He pointed out that the international community had taken notice of blatant human rights violations (in held Kash­mir), with concern expressed by several countries as well as the UN and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

“There are increasing demands for independent investigations and fact-finding missions to be sent to held Kashmir.”

Ambassador Jilani said that by making such statements, Indian leaders were trying to hide the atrocities their forces were committing against the people of Kashmir. “We reject the statement. This is highly irresponsible. The content of the statement is a distortion and counter-intuitive,” he said.

Mr Jilani, also a former foreign secretary, said that to hide their guilt and nervousness, Indian leaders had forgotten the language of diplomacy.

“With such statements, they cannot draw a curtain on their brazen acts of terrorism and crimes against humanity in India-occupied Kashmir,” he said.

In their interaction with world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York this week, Pakistani diplomats warned that India would make a mistake if it assumed that it had succeeded in isolating Pakistan. They reminded India that “new alignments are taking shape in South Asia” and “yesterday’s enemies are now today’s friends”.

The situation in Kashmir demanded a responsible and realistic response, but “unfortunately, India is acting in a highly irresponsible manner”, the diplomats said.

“India is making a wrong example and it will hurt everybody,” said one diplomat. “If India continues on this path, it will end up isolating itself instead of Pakistan.”

Pakistan, the diplomats said, had made new friends in the region, including Russia, while old friends like Turkey and Central Asian states were also supporting it.

One senior diplomat, however, clarified it did not mean that Pakistan did not have a close friendly relationship with the United States. “Pakistan and the US are close allies and will continue to be so,” he added.

The diplomats dispelled an impression that the current situation in South Asia would lead to an India-Pakistan war. “There will be no war. We have no intention of starting one and India also realises that a war at this stage will destroy its economy,” said one diplomat.

Published in Dawn September 26th, 2016

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