Pakistan voices alarm at India-US defence accord

Updated February 28, 2020

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“We have alerted the International community several times about India’s aggressive designs,” says FO spokesperson.  — AFP/File
“We have alerted the International community several times about India’s aggressive designs,” says FO spokesperson. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday expressed its alarm at the defence deal between India and the United States, particularly the sale of sophisticated weapons system to India, saying it would further destabilise an already volatile region.

“We have alerted the International community several times about India’s aggressive designs not only towards Pakistan but towards other countries in the region as well,” Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui told a weekly press briefing here.

In reply to a question about anti-Muslim violence in India, she said: “Pakistan is a victim of state terrorism emanating from its eastern border, and Kulbhushan Jadhav is a glaring example of such state terrorism against Pakistan”.

She said that Pakistan had shared this with the international community. “The rhetoric and threatening language of the Indian leadership, be it civilian or military, against Pakistan is something that we obviously take very seriously and have shared our concern with the international community”.

The spokesperson said as far as current violence in India was concerned, what was happening in New Delhi was a continuation of a majoritarian mindset that propounds discriminatory policies towards minorities.

US-Taliban deal to be signed tomorrow

“This is a pattern we have seen in the last few years, especially in last few months. It is increasingly happening in various parts of India. The oppression that the Kashmiri people have been suffering from for decades, especially after August 2019, has now found its way into the Indian capital. We believe what is happening in New Delhi now is a continuation of that pattern”.

About US President Donald Trump’s renewed offer for mediation on the Kashmir issue, she said: “We welcome this offer and believe that there is an increasing awareness in the entire world that resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute is really the key that will bring peace and stability into our region”. She said in this regard, voices were being raised in different parts of the world.

About anti-Pakistan activities of Indian research centres in the US, she said she was hardly surprised. “We are well cognizant of all such activities.”

To another question, she said the US-Taliban peace agreement will be signed in Qatar on Feb 29.

“Pakistan welcomes this and hopes that it would pave the way for intra-Afghan dialogue and an enduring peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the region.”

She expressed the hope all Afghan parties would seize this historic opportunity and steer the country towards peace and prosperity.

She said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be representing Pakistan at the Peace Agreement signing ceremony.

She also referred to the foreign minister’s press briefing where he reiterated Pakistan’s role in facilitating peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. “We believe that it should be an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process. We have welcomed the signing of this agreement on the 29th of this month, and we hope that it will further lead to initiation of an intra-Afghan dialogue.”

About the post-withdrawal scenario, she said it was up to the Afghan people to steer their country towards peace and make efforts that were needed to achieve a long-lasting peace.

“Pakistan would like to contribute to the reconstruction phase through the bilateral platform. It is our utmost desire to see a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.”

Asked to confirm if the Chinese president is to visit Pakistan in end of May or beginning of June, she said: “We look forward to the visit of the President of China to Pakistan this year. Both sides are working on schedules as per the convenience of our leaderships.”

When her comments were sought on Iranian officials’ briefing asking Pakistan to detain and hand over attackers of Sistan to them, she said “as far as I know, this has not been taken up with us officially as yet”.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2020