India, Pakistan keep up their wordy duel

Updated 15 Aug 2016

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SRINAGAR: A woman and a child cross a street in the Lal Chowk area during a curfew on Sunday. Security has been beefed up across India-held Kashmir ahead of India's Independence Day on Monday.— AFP
SRINAGAR: A woman and a child cross a street in the Lal Chowk area during a curfew on Sunday. Security has been beefed up across India-held Kashmir ahead of India's Independence Day on Monday.— AFP

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan continued their wordy duel on Sunday, with one side underscoring the importance of Jammu and Kashmir to its existence and the other pouring scorn about alleged terrorism emanating from its neighbourhood.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit made a series of comments about independence of Kashmir.

“As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, we dedicate this independence day to the independence of Kashmir,” Mr Basit said at the flag-hoisting ceremony at the mission on Pakistan’s Independence Day.

Indian reports claimed his comments came within hours of “two ceasefire violations and a terror attack in Kashmir’s Poonch”.


Basit says political aspirations of Kashmiris cannot be suppressed


The Indian side used the opportunity to change the focus. “India and others in the region have already received enough of Pakistan’s trademark exports — international terrorism, cross-border infiltrators, weapons, narcotic and fake currency,” alleged a statement from the external affairs ministry, citing an “apparent” Pakistani proposal to send supplies to Jammu and Kashmir.

Two days ago, Pakistan had suggested an exclusive dialogue with India on Kashmir after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said Azad Kashmir belonged to India.

The Indian premier had said the foreign ministry should get in touch with expatriates from Azad Kashmir, gather information from them on “the pitiable condition in the region and let the global community know about it”.

At the flag-hoisting ceremony, Mr Basit stressed that political aspirations of the people of India-held Kashmir could not be suppressed, nor could anyone belittle or wish away their legitimate struggle, according to APP news agency.

He called upon the international community to ensure implementation of the relevant UN resolutions in order to settle the longstanding Kashmir dispute.

The high commissioner said Pakistan would continue to extend its full diplomatic, political and moral support to the valiant people of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the people of Pakistan were united in their efforts to overcome internal and external challenges and thwart all conspiracies aimed at destabilising the country.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2016