ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday rejected the Indian external affairs minister’s comments recently made at an online think tank event.

“We reject these unwarranted and tendentious comments blaming Pakistan for the current state of India-Pakistan relations,” Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said while responding to a media query.

He regretted that rather than reflecting on its own egregious behaviour marked by illegal and unilateral actions in held Kashmir, gross and systematic violations of human rights of unarmed and innocent Kashmiris, unabashed anti-minority policies and actions, incessantly bellicose statements against Pakistan and aggressive steps in the shape of intensified violations of ceasefire along the Line of Control, India resorted to fabrications and baseless allegations against Pakistan.

“Clearly, an acknowledged perpetrator of state-terrorism cannot masquerade as a victim of terrorism,” Mr Chaudhry remarked.

Says acknowledged perpetrator of state terrorism cannot masquerade as victim

He observed that portrayal of innocent Kashmiri youth, women and children martyred in fake encounters and cordon-and-search operations as terrorists to divert the world’s attention from unacceptable actions of Indian occupation forces in held Kashmir was a travesty, reflective of moral bankruptcy of the Indian leadership.

“The so-called preachers of trade and connectivity should also tell the world as to who is blocking regional cooperation and the Saarc process, with its summit pending since 2016. Indian sophistry and obfuscation can neither hide hard facts nor succeed in misleading the world community,” the spokesman said.

He said it was the RSS-BJP regime’s dangerous policies of ‘Hindutva’ and ‘Akhand Bharat’ that continued to victimise the Kashmiris and squeeze the space for the minorities in India on the one hand, and create problems with nearly all of India’s neighbours on the other. Obviously, “normal” relations with its neighbours remained contingent upon India beginning to act normally, he said.

Armenian PM’s allegations refuted

Pakistan has also rejected as baseless Armenian prime minister’s allegations about involvement of Pakistani special forces alongside Azerbaijani army in the ongoing conflict.

“We categorically reject these baseless and unwarranted comments by the Armenian Prime Minister. President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan has also clarified his stance on the matter stating that Azerbaijani forces are strong enough to defend their homeland and do not need the help of foreign forces,” the FO spokesman said in a statement.

He said it was regrettable that leadership of Armenia, to cover up its illegal actions against Azerbaijan, was resorting to irresponsible propaganda, which it must stop.

“For our part, we wish to make clear that Pakistan has consistently extended diplomatic, moral and political support to Azerbaijan. Pakistan will continue to stand by the brotherly nation of Azerbaijan and support its right of self-defence against any aggression. We believe that long-term peace and normalisation of relations between the two parties would depend on the complete and comprehensive implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions and withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijani territories,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2020