ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday said that it welcomed China’s offer to defuse Pak-India tension.

Addressing a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that India’s belligerent attitude was a threat to regional peace and security.

“Regarding Chinese spokesperson’s statement [to play a role for Pak-India peace], we share international community’s growing concern over the deteriorating situation on the Line of Control (LoC) due to Indian belligerent posturing, to divert international attention from its atrocities in Kashmir,” he said.

Zakaria said that Pakistan believed in resolving all issues through dialogue.

“The United Nations secretary general, US president, Chinese leadership and others have expressed concern and offered to play role in lessening the tension and resolving the core issue of Kashmir, which we have welcomed,” he added.

The spokesperson however, did not comment on reports that at the request of Pakistani government, China could send its military in occupied Kashmir as India did in the case of Sikkim sector on behalf of Bhutan.

Zakaria said India had for long tried to taint the indigenous Kashmiri movement for self-determination in held Kashmir by equating it with terrorism, which the international community out rightly rejects.

“Their lies about infiltration and external support to indigenous movement for self-determination in held Kashmir stood exposed when 3,000 mass graves were discovered in 2009 by a non-governmental organisation,” he maintained.

Zakaria said that Kashmir was an internationally-recognised dispute.

“There are unimplemented resolutions on the agenda of the UN Security Council for the last seven decades. Dream of peace and stability of 1.5 billion people in the region will remain elusive without its just resolution in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. Pakistan has consistently maintained that the dispute can be resolved only through realisation of the right of self determination through a fair, free and transparent plebiscite under the auspices of the UN in accordance with the UNSC resolutions,” he contended.

Zakaria said that the use of human shields as was done in held Kashmir had no place in the civilised world.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, he said, had written to the UNSG, president of the UNGA and the Human Rights Commission in this regard.

“As Indian atrocities in Kashmir continue to intensify, it’s time that the international community take concrete measures immediately to stop the bloodshed of innocent Kashmiris,” he said.

Asked about Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s claim that Pakistan had not responded regarding the issuance of visa to the mother of convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav, he said, the request by India was being considered in Pakistan.

“Jhadav is a serving Indian naval officer and involved in multiple acts of espionage, subversive activities, terrorism and terrorism financing in Pakistan. He has been sentenced to death and investigations still continue based on the information that he continues to provide of his accomplices and networks operating in Pakistan,” he added.

Zakaria said that it was highly regrettable that India had placed restrictions on visas for patients who were suffering from serious and terminal illnesses.

“Asking for a letter from the foreign affairs adviser is against the diplomatic norms. Such a requirement has not been prescribed for any other country. We are making suitable alternative arrangements, both within Pakistan as well as in friendly countries,” he said.

Zakaria condemned killing of innocent civilians by India.

“We sympathise with the bereaved families and the injured. Indian agencies have a track record of staging false flag operations. Chattisingpora massacre of 38 innocent Sikhs in March 2000 is one of the cases in point,” he said.

In the context of Amarnath attack, Zakaria said that the Kashmiri leadership in occupied Kashmir had condemned the killings.

“On social media, a number of Indians have highlighted that last time when Yatris [pilgrims] were attacked was in August 2000, then too, the Bharatiya Janata Party was in government,” he said.

Questioned on Samjhuta Express terrorist attack, Zakaria said that it was reprehensible that there had been no progress on the incident in which 42 Pakistanis lost their lives.

“India needs to focus more on bringing the perpetrators of this act of terrorism to justice instead of indulging in spurious allegations. Despite assurances at the highest political level India has not shared information,” he remarked.

To a question, Zakaria said that the Indian position on trying to make the Indus Waters Treaty dysfunctional or ineffective was known.

“We urge India to honour its international legal commitment, including the Indus Waters Treaty,” he added.

Asked if the 2003 ceasefire agreement was dead due to India’s continuous violations, Zakaria said India was continuously engaged in ceasefire violations on the LoC and the Working Boundary but Pakistan was against escalating tension.

“It is paradoxical and farcical that India on the one hand alleges infiltration as an excuse for its ceasefire violations and at the same time prohibits UN observers’ access,” he said.

Zakaria said that the 44th Session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, also strongly condemned state terrorism in occupied Kashmir and called upon India to immediately stop the bloodshed of innocent Kashmiris.

He said that the 56-member Council of the Foreign Ministers (CFM) recognised Kashmir as the core issue between Pakistan and India and underscored that its resolution was the key to ensuring lasting peace and security in the region.

On Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s threat to Taliban that they should accept peace process or be ready to be included in the international list of globally-designated terrorist, he said that Pakistan believed that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

“The focus should be on a politically-negotiated settlement under an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. We believe the focus should be on exploring political incentives that can attract Taliban to negotiations. In the same spirit, Pakistan has welcomed the peace deal with Hizb-e-Islami and we believe that this can serve as a model,” Zakaria added.

To a question about the two officials of Pakistan Consulate in Jalalabad who went missing while travelling from Jalalabad to Peshawar, he said: “The matter was immediately taken up with the Afghan government and since then efforts are being made for the safe return of the missing officials. In the meanwhile, we have seen reports that two more Pakistani nationals are missing in Afghanistan. Pakistan Embassy in Kabul has taken up the matter with Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

Regarding Colonel Habib Zahir (retired) who went missing in Nepal, Zakaria said: “We are constantly in touch with Nepal. I mentioned earlier that we have also sent official communication to the Indian High Commission in this context. The investigations are ongoing.”


Shafqat Ali

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 14-Jul-2017 here.