ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has “strongly rejected” the Indian statement on Kashmir in reaction to the recent China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue, terming the comments made by spokesperson of Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Anurag Srivastava “unwarranted and irresponsible”.
“The (Indian) MEA’s contentions about Jammu and Kashmir being the so-called ‘integral and inalienable part’ of India and an ‘internal affair’ are a laughable fiction, totally contrary to historical and legal facts and in violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions,” said Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri on Sunday.
“India’s self-serving claims regarding Jammu and Kashmir, including the parts which are under illegal Indian occupation, have no basis whatsoever,” the statement declared.
The spokesman also “categorically rejected” India’s “malicious propaganda” against China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), describing it as another manifestation of desperate Indian attempts to mislead the world community.
“India has no locus standi on the issue — historical, legal or moral. The regurgitation of false claims by India can neither change facts nor divert attention from India’s state-terrorism in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and its egregious violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people,” the statement said.
FO also rubbishes Delhi’s ‘malicious’ propaganda against CPEC
Pakistan advised India to implement its international obligations rather than resorting to false and misleading assertions.
The FO spokesman said India must immediately end its illegal and forcible occupation of IIOJK and let the Kashmiris exercise their inalienable right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations as enshrined in the relevant UNSC resolutions.
Earlier, Mr Srivastava, the spokesperson for Indian MEA, had stated that as in the past, “we categorically reject the reference to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir in the joint press release of the Second Round of China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue”.
The Indian spokesperson had said that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir was an integral and inalienable part of India and “we expect the parties concerned to not interfere in matters that are internal affairs of India”.
At the same time, he said, “we also reiterate our consistent position on the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. India has repeatedly conveyed its concerns to both China and to Pakistan on the projects in so-called CPEC, which are in the territory of India that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan.”
“We resolutely oppose actions by other countries that change the status quo in Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir and call on the parties concerned to cease such actions,” Mr Srivastava had said.
Last week, at the second round of China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue in Hainan, China, the two countries had stated that they would act “collectively” to protect their mutual interests.
A joint statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi said a consensus was reached on “collectively” taking “measures to safeguard their common interests and promote peace, prosperity and development in the region”.
The joint communiqué emphasised that Pak-China cooperation, besides serving the mutual interests, was also beneficial for international and regional peace and stability.
China, during the talks, reaffirmed its support for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict and rejected unilateral actions — a reference to annexation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir by India — saying such moves would complicate the dispute. Kashmir “dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements”, the Chinese side noted in the statement.
The Pakistani officials briefed the Chinese delegates on the situation in India-held Jammu and Kashmir, while pointing out their concerns and urgent issues.
“Both sides underlined that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia is in common interest of all parties. Parties need to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” read the joint statement.
China also announced its continued backing for Pakistan in its efforts for “safeguarding its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, independently, choosing a development path based on its national conditions, striving for a better external security environment and playing a more constructive role in international and regional affairs”.
The Pakistani side, in line with its support for ‘One China Policy’, said it stood by China on the issues of Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.
“Both sides agreed on continuing their firm support on issues concerning each other’s core national interests,” the joint statement added.
Beijing and Islamabad also said they had unanimity of views on advancing the construction of the CPEC, ensuring in-time completion of the under-construction projects and making the corridor a hub of regional connectivity. The joint statement welcomed the international community to join CPEC construction “on the basis of consensus to achieve shared development”.
Besides, there was an agreement on convening the 10th meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee, which oversees CPEC projects. The meeting is expected to approve mega projects agreed by the two sides, including the upgrade of Pakistan Railways ML-1.
Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2020