Indo-Pak war of words on Kashmir escalates

Indo-Pak war of words on Kashmir escalates

The rhetorical war broke out at a time when the two countries appeared to be charting a new road map for engagement, leaving behind the failures of the foreign minister level talks in Islamabad on July 15.

The provocation came from Islamabad when Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said: “Gross and systematic abuse of human rights and Indian repression in Kashmir must end. Pakistan calls upon the Government of India to exercise restraint.”
Self-determination

In a statement issued by the Pakistani Foreign Office; Qureshi went on to say that the indigenous movement in J&K had gained a new momentum and urgency. The Kashmiris were unanimous in their demand for self-determination, he added.

He said Pakistan had taken serious note of the deteriorating situation in J&K and would “continue to stand by the Kashmiris.” New Delhi strongly reacted to what it termed as “gratuitous statements issued by Pakistan on J&K.” It said  Qureshi’s statement amounted to interference in the internal affairs of India.

“Pakistan should take credible and effective action against infiltration from across the Line of Control and dismantle the terror infrastructure that exists in the territory under its control.

“This would be an important contribution towards safeguarding the welfare of the people of J&K, who suffer the consequences of terrorism fomented from across the Line of Control and the International Border,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vishnu Prakash said in a statement.

“As a vibrant democracy, India has sufficient mechanisms and constitutional safeguards to address issues raised by its citizens in any part of the country,” he added.
The issue of Kashmir had cast its shadow over External Affairs Minister S M Krishna’s parleys with Qureshi and their post-talk joint press-conference in Islamabad on July 15 last.

India had later blamed Pakistan’s “all-or-nothing” approach for the failure of the foreign minister level talks. Islamabad had retaliated by alleging that New Delhi’s “selective” approach had resulted in the deadlock.

But eight weeks after the failed dialogue in Islamabad; both India and Pakistan recently started trying to lay the ground for yet another round of talks. While speculation was rife earlier this week about a meeting—at least a brief pull-aside chat—between Krishna and Qureshi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York; the diplomats were also discussing possible dates for the Pakistan Foreign Minister’s visit to India. Krishna will reach New York next week. Qureshi is also expected to attend the UNGA.

Dialogue process
Pakistan, however, on Friday clearly indicated that it was not yet ready to give up its demand for resumption of the dialogue process that India had stalled in the aftermath of the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

“Pakistan has sought early and full resumption of the dialogue process with India. Pakistan wants a constructive, sustained and result-oriented dialogue with India on all issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” said Qureshi.

Islamabad’s stand may cast a cloud over the two countries’ attempts to chart a fresh road map of engagement as New Delhi is reluctant to restart the composite dialogue and instead prefer small incremental steps towards gradually normalising the ties between the  two countries.                                                                                                                         
“India reiterates its commitment to resolving issues of mutual concern with Pakistan through dialogue and peaceful means. However, Pakistan must fulfill its solemn commitment of not allowing territory under its control to be used for terrorism directed against India in any manner.

“This would be in the interests of Pakistan and of the international community,” the MEA stated in its reaction to the remarks of Qureshi.

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