ISLAMABAD: National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf on Saturday said there could be no forward movement unless India takes concrete steps to reverse the situation on the ground in occupied Kashmir and stops sponsorship of terrorism against Pakistan.

Dr Yusuf in an interview to Indian journalist Karan Thapar while responding to a question about an Indian offer to revive dialogue between the two countries highlighted India’s state-sponsored terrorism against Pakistan and its terror financing proofs.

Also on Saturday, the Foreign Office rejected the baseless and irresponsible remarks made by the Indian state minister for external affairs in Indian parliament regarding the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, situation in Afghanistan and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

While laying out Pakistan’s position on held Kashmir, Dr Yusuf said the government and the people of Pakistan would remain committed to the Kashmir cause till such time that Kashmiris were granted their right to self-determination under the UNSC resolutions.

FO rejects India’s remarks about Kashmir dispute, Afghan situation, CPEC

About the offer from New Delhi to hold talks, Dr Yusuf said Pakistan had clearly communicated to India that it must halt making demographic changes in occupied Kashmir, ensure protection of Kashmiri identity and give Kashmiris their rights before any dialogue or talks could take place.

The NSA also provided details of Indian sponsorship of terrorism against Pakistan. He said Pakistan had provided a detailed dossier with evidence on Indian involvement in terrorism inside Pakistan.

He provided information on Indian intelligence agency RAW’s involvement in the Johar Town blast in Lahore last month, saying that evidence of banking transactions, telephone records and cyber attacks revealed direct involvement of India in the attacks.

Dr Yusuf also said that Indian intelligence agencies were deliberately targeting CPEC and Chinese interests in Pakistan through their terrorist proxies.

Dr Yusuf said that Pakistan had always stood for peace and Prime Minister Imran Khan had clearly said in Tashkent that Pakistan wanted to have a civilised relationship with India as a neighbour, but the Indian government’s RSS-inspired Hindutva ideology was a stumbling block.

He asked why people inside India were comparing Modi to Hitler. He told the Indian journalist that Pakistan was deeply concerned about India’s rogue behaviour, including reports of Indian state-sponsored spying on Pakistani individuals revealed under the recent Pegasus scandal and the revelation made by the Indian foreign minister that the Modi government had politicised the FATF technical process to ensure Pakistan remains in the grey list.

In response to a question on whether a window of opportunity remained for Pakistan and India to move forward, Dr Yusuf said Pakistan hoped that the possibility of moving forward remained if the Indian government realised its mistakes in occupied Kashmir and took right steps to reverse the situation on the ground to before Aug 5, 2019. “If India takes such actions and ends terrorism inside Pakistan, then both countries can work towards resolving their core issues which will benefit the common citizens of both countries,” he added.

The NSA said that Pakistan was committed to working with all regional countries that wanted peace and stability in Afghanistan. However, alluding to India, he said the countries that are spoilers in Afghanistan and do not want peace in the country should desist from their negative actions.

Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri termed the remarks of the Indian state minister for external affairs about the Kashmir dispute, Afghan situation and CPEC irresponsible.

“Regurgitation of false and fabricated claims by India can neither change the facts nor divert attention from India’s illegal occupation and human rights violations in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK),” he said while responding to media queries.

He said that Jammu and Kashmir remained an internationally recognised dispute, pending resolution in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the people of Kashmir.

The Foreign Office spokesperson said that India had no locus standi whatsoever on CPEC, which was a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative.

“It promises socio-economic uplift and regional connectivity. No amount of Indian machinations or propaganda can undermine the significance of CPEC for peace, development and prosperity of the region,” he added.

As for Afghanistan, the spokesperson said, “Rather than expressing fake concern for the country, India would be well-advised to stop peddling the delusional contiguous neighbour fiction; to remind itself that its role as a “spoiler” in Afghanistan is well-established; and to focus on course correction.”

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2021

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