'Unwarranted and preposterous': Islamabad rejects India's reaction to Pak-China joint statement

Published February 10, 2022
In this file photo, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad addresses a press conference in Islamabad.  — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan
In this file photo, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan

Pakistan categorically rejected on Thursday the "unwarranted and preposterous" comments by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on the joint statement issued by Islamabad and Beijing following Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent visit to China.

The joint statement was issued as PM Imran concluded his visit after meeting President Xi Jinping on February 6.

According to the statement, PM Imran highlighted during his meeting with President Xi that the persecution of minorities in Indian-occupied Kashmir was a threat to regional peace and stability. He also pointed out that the rapid militarisation of India was undermining regional peace.

The statement said the two leaders also discussed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with PM Imran welcoming Chinese investments in the project's second phase that centres on industrialisation and improving people’s livelihoods.

Editorial: India’s rhetoric

Reacting to the joint statement, Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Shri Arindam Bagchi took exception to the mention of occupied Kashmir and the CPEC.

Bagchi said in a statement issued on February 9 that a reference was made to occupied Kashmir and the CPEC in the joint communique, adding that "we have always rejected such references and our position is well known to China and Pakistan."

"In this instance too, we reject reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the joint statement. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh have been, are and will always remain integral and inalienable parts of India," he said, adding, "We expect the parties concerned not to interfere in matters that are internal affairs of India."

As regards to the reference to the CPEC, he continued, "We have consistently conveyed our concerns to China and Pakistan on the projects in the so-called CPEC, which are in India’s territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan. We resolutely oppose any attempts to change the status quo by other countries, as also by Pakistan, in the areas under the illegal occupation of Pakistan."

"We call upon the parties concerned to cease such activities,” he added.

The Foreign Office (FO) in Islamabad issued a statement today, rejecting Bagchi's remarks, terming New Delhi's claim over occupied Kashmir "baseless" and highlighting that there was "irrefutable evidence" of India's designs to sabotage the CPEC.

"New Delhi’s baseless claims over Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) can neither change the facts of history nor the legal status of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. IIOJK never was and never will be India’s 'integral part,'" the FO said.

It added that the "irrefutable fact remains that India is an occupation force in IIOJK in clear violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, and its illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019, seeking to change the internationally recognised disputed status of IIOJK and to alter its demographic structure, have been rejected by the Kashmiris, by Pakistan, and by the international community."

Read: Pakistan calls upon India to reverse Aug 5 actions

The FO expressed Pakistan's resolve to continue to extend all possible support to the people of occupied Kashmiri in their just struggle against India’s illegal occupation.

"Rather than resorting to false and misleading assertions without success, India must vacate its illegal occupation of the disputed territory, immediately reverse its illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 and let 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," it said.

Moreover, the FO stated that Pakistan "strongly rejects India’s persistent propaganda against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)".

"Pakistan has shared irrefutable evidence of India’s sinister campaign to sabotage the CPEC through its dossiers released in 2020 and 2021," the FO statement read.

The FO said also mentioned that there was strong evidence of Indian involvement in recent sinister attempts to stir up unrest in Balochistan by supporting anti-state elements.

Read: Attackers had links with handlers in Afghanistan, India, says army

Besides, naval commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian spy, was a "living and irrefutable proof" of how India had been seeking to sponsor and patronise subversive activities in Pakistan and the region, the FO added.

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