New Delhi : In a provocative statement just days ahead of the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary level talks, the Pakistan High Commissioner on Thursday said his country extends “full diplomatic and moral support” to what he described as “legitimate struggle” of the Kashmiris.
The remarks by Abdul Basit came as Pakistan celebrated its Independence Day.
“I would also like to reaffirm Pakistan’s full diplomatic and moral support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their legitimate struggle which is enshrined in the UN Charter and universal declaration of human rights,” he said at an event here to mark the occasion.
Even though the stage for the Foreign Secretary level talks has been set, ceasefire violations at the LoC by Pakstani troops have only increased. In fact, in a major escalation, Pakistani troops violated ceasefire for the third time in 21 hours in Poonch, forcing the Army to retaliate.
Islamabad had also on Wednesday dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s accusation that it was indulging in a proxy war against India as “baseless rhetoric”.
Even as it maintains that it is not opposed to the forthcoming talks, the Congress party has posed a series of questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ‘‘We want to know as to what is that has changed at the ground level between India and Pakistan so as to engage in this exercise, when the stated position has always been that talks and terrorism cannot go on hand in hand,” said former union minister Salman Khursheed at a press briefing.
He recalled that during the UPA regime the BJP leaders and more particularly the current prime minister would incessantly attack the Congress party for being soft towards to Pakistan and allege that this was being done with an eye on the domestic minority vote. ‘‘At that time, Modi would say that the movement of the Pakistani troops is visible on Google maps and the Delhi government is blind to that, but now we want to know what has changed because violations across the Line of Control are still continuing,” observed Khursheed.
Modi used to say that movement of Pakistani troops is visible on Google maps and the UPA government is blind to that, but now we want to know what has changed because violations across the LOC are still on— Salman Khursheed
The former external affairs minister did agree with the prime minister’s recent observations in Leh that Pakistan, having lost the capacity to wage a conventional war, was now fighting a proxy war. ‘‘But then the real issue in Leh is the problem of frequent Chinese intrusion, and he has remained quiet about it. Although the union home minister Rajnath Singh has accepted that there is a dispute about the perception of the Line of Actual Control, and in our tenure we had 17 rounds of talks with the Chinese on this issue,” he added.
On the issue of Kashmir, the Congress leader stressed that any dialogue on this long standing controversy with Pakistan can take place within the contours of the 1972 Shimla agreement. ‘‘The problem is that Pakistan does not fulfill the conditions as per the agreement. In so far as other issues raised by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are concerned, these are internal matters of India,” he added.