Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Pakistan Government on Friday said the reasons cited by India to call off the meeting scheduled between the foreign ministers of the two countries on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) were “unconvincing”.
“The reasons cited by the Indian side for the decision to cancel the Foreign Ministers’ meeting, within 24 hours of its public confirmation, are entirely unconvincing,” read an official statement. The meeting, which was scheduled to take place between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, in New York, was called off by India hours after security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir were kidnapped and brutally killed.
India, while announcing its decision to call off the meeting, had also said that the true face of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had been revealed in the wake of the brutal killings. However, Pakistan, in response, maintained that the “disturbing developments” referred to in the Indian statement predated the Indian agreement to hold the bilateral meeting in New York, and claimed that India’s comments against Khan were “against all norms of civilised discourse and diplomatic communication.” “Firstly, the alleged killing of BSF soldier took place two days prior to the Indian announcement of its agreement to hold the bilateral meeting,” the statement read.
Further denying their involvement in the acts of violence, Pakistan said that it would conduct a joint investigation to “establish the truth”. “When the allegations of Pakistan’s involvement first appeared, the Pakistan Rangers clearly conveyed to BSF through official channels that Pakistan had nothing to do with it. Pakistan Rangers also extended help in efforts to locate the soldier’s body. These facts were known to the Indian authorities and a part of the Indian media also reported that Pakistan had refuted its involvement. Yet, this motivated and malicious propaganda continued. Pakistan takes this opportunity to categorically reject these allegations once again. Our authorities would be prepared to conduct a joint investigation to establish the truth,” it said.
Pakistan also opined that dialogue and diplomacy was the only constructive way forward to address matters of mutual concern. “Pakistan has always desired peaceful and good-neighbourly relations with India, on the basis of sovereign equality, mutual respect, and mutual benefit. In our view, dialogue and diplomacy are the only constructive way forward for the two countries to address mutual concerns, rebuild trust, resolve longstanding disputes, and establish durable peace in South Asia. For its part, Pakistan will persist with its quest for peace and development. But, as we have consistently emphasised, our approach will continue to be guided by the aforementioned principles and the dictates of national dignity.”
Even though India, on Thursday, had accepted Pakistan’s proposal for a meeting, back to back incidents of increased violence in Jammu and Kashmir and killing of security personnel put off India from engaging with a Pakistan government, that continues to push terror and violence from its soil. Apart from Friday’s incident, the mutilated body of Border Security Force (BSF) Head Constable Narender Singh was found with multiple bullet injuries on his torso and neck on September 18.
Prior to that, a policeman was shot dead by terrorists outside an Eidgah in Kulgam’s Zazripora in August, when he was leaving after offering prayers. On June 14, in another incident, the gravely injured body of Aurangzeb, an Army personnel of 44 Rashtriya Rifles, was found. He was abducted and killed by terrorists while he was returning home for the festival of Eid.