ISLAMABAD : A fresh diplomatic row broke out between Pakistan and India on Thursday over Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s telephonic conversation with Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
India late last night summoned the Pakistani High Commissioner to register protest over the telephonic call by Qureshi. A day later, Pakistan also summoned the Indian envoy at the Foreign Office to register a formal protest over the summoning of the Pakistani High Commissioner.
Speaking at a weekly briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal rejected India’s objection to Qureshi-Farooq telephonic talk. “Pakistan has categorically rejected the baseless allegations raised by India, including its delusional insistence on Jammu and Kashmir being its part,” the spokesperson said.
He said that the foreign secretary summoned the Indian high commissioner and registered Pakistan’s “strong protest at the calling-in of our high commissioner for extending political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris which had been Pakistan’s consistent, public policy”.
Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua stressed the internationally-recognised disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir, which remained on the agenda of the United Nations, and emphasised that Pakistan would continue to support the Kashmiris politically, morally and diplomatically.
“Let me emphasise once and for all that the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir is internationally accepted, as evident from the fact that it remains on the UNSC agenda. No amount of Indian insistence to the contrary can change that,” the spokesperson said.
“Indian attempt to equate the legitimate and indigenous struggle of the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination with terrorism is a travesty,” he continued. “It has been Pakistan’s consistent and stated policy to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiris,” he added.
“The dramatic late-night summoning of our high commissioner, which took place last night, is just Indian political gimmickry and electioneering. It is your election and you should not try to acquire votes at our expense.”
Answering a question, the spokesperson said the current diplomatic spat would not affect Pakistan’s initiative on the Kartarpur Corridor.
‘Beware of detractors of Afghan peace’
Responding to a recent statement of the Afghan interior minister in which he accused Pakistan of the unrest in his country, the spokesperson said: “Such characters have scuttled attempts of peace talks in the past and are trying to undermine the ongoing Afghan peace process.”
Faisal said that Pakistan was facilitating direct talks between the Taliban and the US in good faith and in the spirit of shared responsibility. “There are actors in Afghanistan and the region whose interest is served by perpetual conflict in the country,” he said, while responding to the allegations of Afghan interior minister.
He had a word of caution for the parties currently engaged in talks. “While efforts to settle the decades-old bloody conflict in Afghanistan are under way, the Afghan people, the US and the Taliban must remain watchful of these detractors and expose them so that their nefarious designs do not undermine the nascent peace initiative,” Faisal said.
The spokesperson did not offer any comment on the statement of Taliban spokesperson that the group was not seeking monopoly over the Afghan affairs. “It is an intra-Afghan issue, therefore, I do not have any comment to offer,” he said.