LAHORE: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan chastised Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for creating war hysteria and warned that “if India ever tried to impose war, Pakistan will end it — not in Srinagar or Jammu, but in Delhi”.
Condemning the minister’s threats, Dr Awan told a press conference at Governor House on Saturday that Pakistan would never initiate war and violate international laws. But in case war was imposed on it, she said, every Pakistani would be fighting alongside its armed forces.
Calling on international organisations and human rights champions, the special assistant said the world must be shown the true face of India that was getting ready for Kashmiri Muslims’ genocide. She said Prime Minister Imran Khan had already raised the Kashmir issue at all international forums and would address the United Nations General Assembly on Sept 27 to explain the Modi government’s mindset that had turned the disputed valley into jail as well as urge the UN to get its 11 resolutions implemented.
Responding to a question about PM Khan telling the international media that there was no point in talking to India anymore, Dr Awan termed the assertion the narrative of a self-respecting nation’s leader. “The statement explains that the next-door neighbour should not take Pakistan’s wish for a peaceful resolution of Kashmir as its weakness or compulsion to sit with India,” she explained. “Pakistan will not enter into any dialogue with India until Kashmiris are present in the talks as a stakeholder.”
Says Pakistan will never initiate war or violate international law
In a build-up to PM Khan’s address to the UN General Assembly, she said the federal government would launch a series of events and that Mr Khan had constituted a focal group that he headed to set priorities to ensure that Kashmiris were represented at all levels world over.
As part of the events, Dr Awan said the premier would address the nation and a National Solidarity Day celebrated within a week to give a clear message of unity, harmony and ownership of the Kashmir cause.
She further said minorities in Pakistan, including Sikhs, Christians and Hindus, had also expressed solidarity with the people of held Kashmir as well as Muslims of India. She added that Pakistan was actively working to complete and open Kartarpur Corridor for Sikhs to visit Baba Guru Nanak’s birthplace on the occasion of his 550th birth anniversary. Although the project had started about a year ago, she lamented that India was still reluctant to offer Sikhs a chance to visit their holy place. “Pakistan will open the Kartarpur Corridor at the scheduled time in November irrespective of any situation on the border,” she asserted, adding, “The ball is in India’s court now.”
Answering a question, she said the government had taken some strong decisions to help Pakistan get rid of economic slavery of the world. “The economic reforms agenda is currently appearing as a bitter pill, but will ultimately prove to be a breath of fresh air,” she claimed.
Dr Awan brushed aside the rumours of PM’s special assistant Nadeem Afzal Chan’s resignation and said the latter had not resigned. However, in the same breath, she said the PM had the right to place his players wherever he found appropriate. “The rumour mills should stop, as many other things are needed to be done at this point of time,” she stated.
Calling the PM’s initiative of planting 10 billion trees in five years a revolutionary step, she said it would save the future generations. She also planted a tree in Governor House lawns and dedicated it to Kashmiris.
Governor Chaudhry Sarwar said a Sikh Conference at Governor House on Aug 31 would discuss the provision of facilities to the Sikhs expected to visit from across the world.
Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2019