ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reiterated its commitment to extend full diplomatic support to the people of Indian-controlled Kashmir who continue their legitimate struggle.
This was stated by Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit on Sunday even as India strongly reacted to Islamabad’s offer of sending supplies across the Line of Control into the disputed Himalayan territory.
“Pakistan will continue to extend full diplomatic, political and moral support to the valiant people of Jammu and Kashmir till they get their right to self-determination,” Basit said at his country’s Independence Day celebrations in New Delhi on Sunday.
At the flag-hoisting ceremony, Basit said Islamabad was dedicating the day to the Kashmir struggle.
“As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, we are dedicating this year’s Independence Day to the freedom of Kashmir. And we firmly believe that the sacrifices made by the people of Jammu and Kashmir will not go in vain.”
The envoy stressed that the “political aspiration of the people of Jammu and Kashmir could not be suppressed, nor could anyone belittle or wish away their legitimate struggle and enormous sacrifices”.
He called upon the international community to ensure implementation of relevant UN resolutions to settle the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
“Pakistan had always desired and endeavoured to have cooperative relations with India on the basis of sovereign equality and peaceful resolution of the bilateral disputes.”
Supplies offer ‘absurd’
India dismissed an offer by Pakistan to send supplies to the disputed Himalayan valley which has been under a virtual curfew for nearly a month. “India and others in the region have already received enough of Pakistan’s trademark exports,” a statement from India’s External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup read, The Indian Express reported.
Swarup accused Pakistan of ‘exporting’ terrorism, cross-border infiltration, weapons, narcotics and fake currency.
He went on to dismiss the offer of supplies.
“I can only characterise its contents that propose sending supplies to the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir as absurd,” he said.
Indian-controlled Kashmir has been under a virtual siege since the July 8 killing of separatist leader Burhan Wani.
“We completely and categorically reject this purported communication from the Pakistan foreign ministry,” he said.
Meanwhile, a junior Indian minister reacted to Basit’s speech by stating that any talks with Pakistan on outstanding issues will only be about Azad Kashmir.
“Our stand is very clear in the context of Jammu and Kashmir issue. If at all there is any outstanding issue with Pakistan it is how to liberate the part of Jammu and Kashmir (Azad Kashmir) which remains under illegal occupation of Islamabad after 60-65 years of Independence and make it a part of Jammu and Kashmir and part of the Indian Union,” said Indian Minister of State Jitendra Singh, The Indian Express reported.
“Whatever goes on in Islamabad and on behalf of Pakistani authorities is a reflection of confusion and frustration they suffer from,” he said.
The extremist Shiv Sena party also called for sending Basit back to Pakistan ‘within 24 hours’.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2016.