ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday asked India to do away with the practice of hurling unsubstantiated allegations against Pakistan as the country’s high commissioner in India voiced hope that the foreign secretary-level talks between the two rival countries will take place sooner than later.
Speaking at a weekly briefing, foreign ministry spokesperson Qazi Khalilluah said pointless reference to Pakistan in the recent India-France joint statement had undermined efforts to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the region through a cooperative approach.
In a joint statement issued during the visit of French President Francois Hollande to New Delhi earlier this week, India and France had asked Pakistan to take decisive actions against Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Haqqani Network and other militant groups such as al Qaida.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged the global community to act decisively against those who ‘provide safe havens’ to terrorists and who nurture them through finances, training and infrastructure support in an indirect reference to Pakistan.
Commenting on the India-France joint statement, the spokesperson said Pakistan condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and rendered enormous sacrifices in combating the terrorism to make the world a safer and better place.
“Our sacrifices have been appreciated by the international community. We, therefore, would have expected India-France joint statement on counterterrorism to acknowledge this fact,” Qazi said.
The Foreign Office’s strong rejoinder came as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit hinted at the foreign secretary level talks to take place soon. In an interview with CNN-IBN, Basit said both foreign secretaries were in contact and hopefully their meeting will take place sooner than later.
Mediation in Saudi-Iran row
The spokesperson refused to comment on the recent statement of Saudi foreign minister in which he denied that Pakistan was playing any role to defuse tensions between Riyadh and Tehran.
“However, let me reiterate that Pakistan considers efforts for promoting unity among the Muslim Ummah as a sacred duty. Leaders of both Saudi Arabia and Iran appreciated Pakistan’s initiative to reduce tensions between them.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2016.