On Kashmir attack, Shah Mahmood Qureshi says 'violence is not the govt's policy'

Updated February 16, 2019

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said violence was not the policy of the government while referring to an attack on Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir on Thursday in which 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed. — File
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said violence was not the policy of the government while referring to an attack on Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir on Thursday in which 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed. — File

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said "violence is not the policy of the government" while referring to an attack on Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir on Thursday, in which 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed.

"Violence is not a [strategy] nor is it our government's policy," Qureshi said in a video shared by the PTI Official handle on Twitter today.

The video was a recording of the foreign minister speaking to GeoNews in Munich, where he has been attending the Munich Security Conference.

Qureshi condemned the bombing and added that he was "a little sad" that, without investigating the incident, India had instantly levelled allegations against Pakistan in a "knee-jerk reaction".

"You can throw the blame at us," Qureshi said, noting that accusing Pakistan "took one minute".

Qureshi also noted that the world had condemned the incident, "as they should, as lives had been lost".

Qureshi added, however, that the voices coming from within India should also be heard, such as that of former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, who has said that placing blame on Pakistan was the "easy route" and that Indian authorities should examine its policies in Kashmir.

Qureshi also highlighted Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir, making mention of rampant human rights violations and the near daily funerals.

"Is a reaction to that not expected?" Qureshi asked, adding that a reaction to rape of local women and use of pellet guns had to be expected at some point.

Qureshi said that he had spoken to various foreign ministers, including to the Russian foreign minister, in Moscow and told them that he had been fearful there would be some "misadventure" for political purposes prior to the election [in India].

Similarly, the minister said that around two months ago, Pakistani officials had briefed P5 (US, China, Russia, UK and France) envoys in Islamabad that they feared something or the other taking place to "distract attention" from the Kashmir issue.

He added that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had two options now.

"One is to act like a typical politician and stage his reactions and policy while keeping and eye on the next election. Alternatively, he has the option of being a statesman who thinks about his region, his country's poverty, the betterment of his country, as well as regional betterment."

Qureshi said it remains to be seen which direction Modi will choose.

He said that, instead of hurling accusations at Pakistan, if India had any "actionable evidence" against the country, they should share it with them.

"Share it with us, we will investigate it with integrity and see what the reality is," Qureshi said while assuring that they would cooperate.

He also reiterated that Pakistan wanted peace.

"Our message is of peace, not war," Qureshi said.

India must not use Pulwama attack to intensify atrocities: FO

The Foreign Office (FO) condemned "the continuing attacks on Kashmiris in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, and accused the Indian state authorities of staying "complicit and inactive [as] Kashmir bleeds".

Furthermore, FO spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal urged India to "not use the Pulwama attack as a carte blanche to intensify its atrocities against innocent Kashmiris".

Occupied Kashmir attack kills 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers

At least 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed on Thursday in occupied Kashmir in the deadliest attack on security forces since 2002.

The attack, surpassing one in 2016 when 19 soldiers died, saw explosives packed inside a van rip through buses in a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying some 2,500 members of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force.

Two blue buses carrying around 35 people each bore the brunt of the explosion around 20 kilometres from the main city of Srinagar on the main highway towards Jammu.

The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) had claimed responsibility, saying it was a suicide attack.