ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday questioned the motive behind trilateral talks between Afghanistan, the United States and India scheduled to take place later this month at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
“We are not sure as to what is the need for it, what this proposed arrangement hopes to achieve and what would be its parameters and modalities?” asked Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria at a news conference.
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He was responding to a question about the recent announcement by US Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to New Delhi that the three countries would be holding talks this month in New York. The US move came at a time when relations between Pakistan and India are strained by the ongoing unrest in Kashmir.
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Ties had already soured after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his independence day speech to raise the issue of Balochistan. Zakaria, however, dismissed the Indian premier’s assertions as an attempt to divert attention from atrocities being committed by Indian forces in Kashmir. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday wrote another letter to UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon in which he termed Modi’s remarks on Balochistan as unwarranted and in complete contravention of the UN Charter.
Asked to comment on the Indo-US defence pact, the spokesperson said it was an agreement between the two sovereign states and hoped that this would contribute to peace and stability. However, he added a word of caution by suggesting that “Pakistan would like to see that such arrangements do not contribute to polarising the region by disturbing the strategic balance in South Asia and escalating the arms buildup.”
Pakistan questions motive behind trilateral talks on Afghanistan
To another question, the spokesperson said the main purpose of government’s initiative to dispatch elected representatives to different world capitals was to highlight the gravity of the situation in Indian Kashmir.
He said they will brief the host countries about the current situation in Kashmir and the need for taking urgent steps to stop grave human rights violations in the disputed territory.
Zakaria said Pakistan also urged the UN to hold Indian forces accountable for the atrocities they were committing in the valley.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2016.