ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office on Friday rejected Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh’s statement about Gilgit-Baltistan as ridiculous and said it represented India’s expansionist mindset.

“Pakistan rejects and strongly condemns the highly irresponsible, provocative and gratuitous remarks made by the Indian Defence Minister … the remarks are farcical on the one hand, and reflective of India’s characteristic hostility towards Pak­istan on the other,” Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar said.

He said India, which should have given the right of self-determination to people of held Kashmir, was eyeing Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to nurture its ‘expansionist mindset’.

Minister Singh, while speaking at an event in Budgam district commemorating the landing of Indian troops at Srinagar airport on Oct 27, 1947, said: “We have just begun our development journey in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. This mission will be completed only when we reach the remaining parts such as Gilgit and Baltistan in line with Parliament’s resolution of 1994.”

The FO spokesman said the so-called ‘development work’ in India-held Kashmir was a mere eyewash, while the amateurish attempt to distort the well-established historical facts about the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was pathetic. He called upon the international community to hold India responsible for altering the demography of held Kashmir, as well as for brutal repression of the innocent Kashmiris.

Commenting on Indian reaction to Pakistan’s delisting by FATF on Oct 21, Mr Iftikhar said it was because their attempts at politicising the FATF process failed. “India is isolated in FATF due to its anti-Pakistan and irresponsible posture that has found no takers or backers,” he said at the weekly media briefing and disclosed that breach of confidentiality requirements by India had been raised with FATF officials who took serious note of it.

“Pakistan’s success testifies to the fact that India’s politicisation efforts in FATF have eventually failed,” he said.

India, the spokesman said, was in no position to define “global interest” because of its tainted anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing regime. He said India needed to mend its own ways before pointing fingers at others.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2022

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