Islamabad hails map triumph over Delhi at SCO

Published September 16, 2020
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf while talking to journalists, described the Indian reaction as “unfortunate”.  — APP
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf while talking to journalists, described the Indian reaction as “unfortunate”. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday celebrated its diplomatic victory — the overruling of Indian objection by Russia to displaying of its new political map at an online meeting of national security advisers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Indian NSA Ajit Doval walked out in protest during a speech at the dialogue by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf.

Mr Yusuf, later in the evening while talking to journalists, described the Indian reaction as “unfortunate”.

“Bizarrely, my Indian counterpart chose to walk out of Pakistan and Russia’s speech. Left a bad taste at a forum whose whole spirit is cooperation,” he tweeted separately.

Russia overrules Indian objection to displaying of Pakistan’s new political map at the forum

Mr Yusuf’s office said in a statement that India’s “spurious claims were rejected as it faced defeat after its formal objection to Pakistan’s new political map was overruled”. The map remained on display in the background.

Pakistan had on Aug 4 — a day before the first anniversary of annexation of occupied Kashmir by India — unveiled the new political map underlining the disputed status of the Kashmir region.

The row over the display of the new map at the NSAs meeting started a few days back during a test call for the conference, where India noticed it in the background.

Later, India protested to Russia, which was hosting the meeting. Moscow conveyed New Delhi’s reservations to Islamabad, but the Foreign Office, according to Mr Yusuf, rejected the Indian position and refused to remove the map.

Pakistan’s position was that contrary to the Indian claim, the map does not claim any part of the Indian territory and was in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and “sentiments” of the Kashmiris.

The National Security Division (NSD), in a media statement, said: “Pakistan highlighted that India under international law had no legal rights to claim the internationally recognised disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir as part of India. Pakistan informed SCO secretariat that India’s illegal and unilateral actions in IIOJK were in grave violation of the UN Charter and UNSC resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.”

The SCO agreed to Pakistan’s position, it added.

The map then remained on display in Mr Yusuf’s background during the meeting prompting Ajit Doval to walk out.

“Once again, India’s attempts to make a significant multilateral forum subject to petty bilateral debate failed and Pakistan’s new political map and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people were highlighted during the meeting of National Security Advisors of SCO member states,” the NSD stressed.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020

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