ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday rubbished India’s evidence on this month’s Uri attack as a mere ‘piece of paper’ as tensions between the two countries has touched its peak.

Addressing a weekly media briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said India was wrongly blaming Pakistan for the Uri attack.

On the Indian ‘evidence’ given to Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit, the spokesman said there should be distinction between evidence and information. “It was just a piece of paper handed over to the High Commissioner. We would (still) look into it,” he said.

Zakaria referred to Samjhota Express incident where Indian claims were later proved as “lies.” He said India was hoodwinking the world by putting the blame for every terror attack on Pakistan to hide its own failures.

He criticised Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for claiming Kashmir as the integral part of India during her speech at the United Nations, saying the statement was the “denial of United Nations Security Council's resolutions.”

“The statement was against the sanctity of UNSC resolution given at the very forum of United Nations,” he added.

Zakaria said the toll of Kashmiris killed by Indian security forces had reached 100 during the last 83 days, with more than 12,000 injured among whom 800 received eye injuries. “India has unleashed a reign of terror in Kashmir,” he said.

He said as far as diplomatic efforts were concerned Pakistan had always called for dialogue, particularly with regard to the issue of Kashmir, for achieving lasting peace and stability in the region.

During the recent atrocities in held Kashmir, he said, Pakistan had sent two letters to Indian government for an exclusive dialogue on Kashmir with the view to resolve the longstanding issue. “India has not been forthcoming in accepting Pakistan’s offers for dialogue. India’s conditional approach to dialogue is unacceptable,” he said.

Isolation claims a laughing stock

He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's participation in the 71st UNGA session was very productive. “Not only he effectively highlighted and apprised the world community on the ongoing human rights violations in Kashmir by the Indian security forces, but he also met many world leaders on the sidelines to sensitise them on the Kashmiris’ plight, and gathered political commitments from various world leaders on Kashmir issue,” he added.

He vowed Pakistan would continue to highlight “Indian atrocities” at United Nations, Organisation for Islamic Cooperation and other international organisations.

The spokesman said statements by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot isolate Pakistan in the world.

Zakaria said Pakistan's engagements on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly, China's massive investment in Pakistan, joint military exercises with Russia, visit of Iranian naval ship and signing of mega projects with Central Asian states had made India’s claims a “laughing stock.”

Zakaria said that joint military exercise between the armies of Pakistan and Russia was underway and added that Iranian naval ships were also present in Pakistan. He said India’s negative propaganda was designed to isolate Pakistan at the diplomatic level.

The spokesman said Pakistan wanted to live peacefully with all the neighbours. “We support China and US efforts. The QCG (Quadrilateral Coordination Group) is aimed to ensure peace in Afghanistan,” he maintained.

As regards the Pak-Afghan border, he said: “We have a mechanism in place and whenever anything of this sort happens, we discuss such incidents under that arrangement.”

He added: “You also mentioned about India's nexus with 2-3 Baloch men. We have raised this issue many times on various occasions and also submitted dossiers to the UNSG last year which contained evidence of Indian involvement in terrorism inside Pakistan, particularly the Indian involvement in stirring up the situation in Balochistan. I think now everything is crystal-clear after the arrest of Indian spy Kulbushan Yadav and his public confession, Indian Prime Minister’s Independence-Day statement, and the statements by one or two odd Baloch elements enjoying perks and living abroad. What else do you need to establish a clear connection between India and those elements which are disturbing peace in Pakistan and carrying out terrorist activities? To me it is very clear and it should also be very clear to you as well.”

He said Pakistan was not against Afghanistan’s bilateral relations with any country but wanted Kabul to make sure its soil is not used against Pakistan.

India impeding Saarc process

He said India had a track record of impeding the process of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, terming such approach as against the interests of region's prosperity and development.

“Most of the times, it is India that has postponed the Saarc meetings in the past and created hurdles in its smooth functioning,” he said in response to India's decision not to attend the Saarc summit scheduled for November which later had to be postponed. 

Questioned if Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh followed India in walking away from the summit, Zakaria said: “All Saarc countries had in fact previously agreed for the venue during last summit.”

He said the major thrust of Saarc activities is to uplift the socio-economic conditions of the people of South Asia, which has the highest concentration of the world’s poor. “India’s negative attitude has had a direct bearing on the welfare and betterment in this region, which is highly regrettable,” he remarked.

Asked if Pakistan will look towards other regional bodies besides Saarc, he said Pakistan was already members of several regional bodies including Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Economic Cooperation Organisation and Asian Cooperation Dialogue and would remain active at these forums.

On reports of possible revocation of Indus Water Treaty by India, Zakaria said Pakistan had not received any official note from India in this regard.

The spokesman explained the treaty was not time-barred and its sub- provisions 3 and 4 of Article 12 say it cannot be revoked unilaterally. “Revoking would undermine India's international standing and Pakistan would respond accordingly,” he said.