Pakistan ‘deeply disappointed’ as India backs out of talks

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KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan was “deeply disappointed” by the latest development from India pertaining to the talks between the two nations, wherein New Dehli cancelled a meeting of the foreign ministers.

According to a statement released by the office of Pakistani government’s spokesperson, the reasons provided for cancelling the meeting, which was slated to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in New York, “are entirely unconvincing”.

“The so-called ‘disturbing developments’ alluded to in the Indian statement predated the Indian agreement to hold the bilateral meeting in New York,” the press release from the office of Pakistani government’s spokesperson stated.

“Firstly, the alleged killing of BSF soldier took place two days prior to the Indian announcement of its agreement to hold the bilateral meeting.”

Pakistani Rangers, according to the statement, “conveyed to BSF through official channels that Pakistan had nothing to do with it” and had offered help in locating the dead body.

“These facts were known to the Indian authorities and a part of the Indian media also reported that Pakistan had refuted its involvement. Yet, this motivated and malicious propaganda continued.”

Therefore, Islamabad categorically rejected the allegations levelled by New Delhi and said it was “prepared to conduct a joint investigation to establish the truth”.

The statement further went on to mention that the postage stamps in question “were issued before the 25 July 2018 elections, as a result of which the Government of Prime Minister Imran Khan assumed office.

“The stamps highlight the gross and systematic human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir, which were extensively documented also in a comprehensive report issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as late as June 2018.

“By falsely raising the canard of ‘terrorism’, India can neither hide its unspeakable crimes against the Kashmiri people nor can it delegitimise their indigenous struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination.”

The office of the Pakistani government’s spokesperson also stressed that the words India chose to talk about Prime Minister Imran Khan were “against all norms of civilised discourse and diplomatic communication”.

It noted that Khan had mentioned working on and taking a step forward to improve the bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries, saying “if India took one step forward, Pakistan would take two”.

Commenting on how India had wasted a very good opportunity to jointly work on the betterment of the bilateral ties, the statement said: “Pakistan has always desired peaceful and good-neighbourly relations with India, on the basis of sovereign equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit.

“In our view, dialogue and diplomacy are the only constructive way forward for the two countries to address mutual concerns, rebuild trust, resolve longstanding disputes, and establish durable peace in South Asia.”

Earlier, on Friday, Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had confirmed the cancellation of the meeting, citing the alleged killing of three Indian police officers and a personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) as the reason.

“In view of the changed situation, there will be no meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan in New York,” a statement issued by the Indian MEA had read.

On Thursday, the MEA spokesperson had confirmed that Qureshi and Swaraj would meet on the sidelines of the UNGA, later this month. Kumar, however, had not specified a date for the meeting but sources told Geo News that it was scheduled for September 27.

The spokesperson had said the decision for the foreign ministers’ meet was taken after Khan penned a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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