Dawn.com.pk/Choose us or Hurriyat leaders, Indian defence minister tells Pakistan

SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)

India’s Defence Minister said Pakistan must make a “conscious choice of peace” and decide whether it wants to talk to the Indian government or the Hurriyat leaders.

According to news reports, Indian Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India is prepared to enter dialogue with Pakistan and normalise relations but “there are a few red lines”.

Referring to India’s decision to call off foreign secretary-level bilateral talks with Pakistan following the criticism of Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s meeting with Hurriyat leader Shabbir Shah, Jaitley said:

“We create the environment, we fix up a dialogue at the level of foreign secretaries, our foreign secretary is to visit Pakistan [and] literally a few hours before that they invite the separatists for a dialogue to their high commission [in New Delhi].”

“So I think a new red line has to be drawn in Pakistan to reconsider this question that who they want to speak to? Do they want to speak to the government of India or they want to speak to those who want to break India,” the Indian minister said at the India Economic Summit in New Delhi.

“So unless Pakistan makes the conscious choice, a dialogue with Pakistan will not be possible,” he said.

Talking about the ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC), he said the consequences of Pakistan’s “misadventure” like firing on a civilian population and the uprooting of a village, “would be an unaffordable cost for Pakistan.”

Jaitley said New Delhi had given three messages to Pakistan.

“The first is that we want to talk. So we invited them. The second is we send a foreign secretary there. But they must decide whether they are ready to speak to our foreign secretary or to speak to those who want to break India. The third is that this kind of a situation in international border cannot go on.

“That’s not an environment for a dialogue… India would like to normalise the relationship. But whether Pakistan wants to normalise the relationship depends on Pakistan.”

Jaitley had warned Pakistan on October 21 of more “pain” if it “continued to violate a ceasefire” on the disputed border in Kashmir. He had said that it was up to Islamabad to create conditions for the resumption of peace talks.

“Our conventional strength is far more than theirs. So if they persist with this, they’ll feel the pain of this adventurism,” Jaitley had told NDTV in an interview.

Indo-Pak delegates spar over Kashmir at UN

Pakistan and India were involved in a yet another verbal duel over the Jammu and Kashmir region after an Indian delegate protested what he called were “unsolicited comment” about the decades-old dispute made by a Pakistani diplomat in a UN General Assembly’s panel.

“Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India,” Indian delegate Mayank Joshi claimed, while reacting to a statement made by Pakistani diplomat Diyar Khan in the 193-member Third Committee calling for a settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN resolutions.

The Pakistani delegate also said, “It is regrettable that decades after the adoption of these resolutions, the people of Jammu and Kashmir remain deprived of their fundamental right to self-determination. They continue to face widespread repression and human rights violations, which have been documented by independent international human rights organisations.”

Exercising his right of reply, Joshi, the Indian delegate, called Pakistani delegate’s comments about the Issue of Kashmir as ‘factually incorrect’.

He said free, fair and open elections were regularly held in that territory at all levels.

Diyar Khan, the Pakistani delegate, immediately rejected the Indian arguments, saying Kashmir is not a part of India.

Kashmir, he said, was an internationally recognised disputed territory, well established by the relevant N Security Council resolutions.

“Numerous undertakings and statements of similar nature have been made by the Indian leadership at international fora including at the United Nations,” he said.

Regarding elections in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani delegate added that those elections had been rejected by the United Nations and the Kashmiri people.

Resolutions had clarified that no electoral exercise conducted by the Indian authorities could be a substitute for a free plebiscite held by the United Nations.

Speaking in the exercise of the right of reply for a second time, the Indian representative said the elections in Jammu and Kashmir had been held under the scrutiny of international media which had not faulted those elections.

Taking the floor again, the Pakistani delegate said the elections held under foreign occupation could not be a substitute to impartial elections.

But Joshi, the Indian delegate, said that the references of Pakistani delegation were out of context. Earlier, speaking in a debate on self-determination, Diyar Khan said that right must be exercised in an environment free from coercion or duress, as electoral processes held in situations of foreign occupation or alien domination did not reflect people’s true wishes.

Self-determination did not lapse with the passage of time, the Pakistani delegate said adding that ‘Nor could it be set aside by charges of terrorism’.

State terrorism and the use of mercenaries to supress the right to self-determination also deserved attention, according to Diyar Khan.

He said that Pakistan had consistently opposed all forms of racism and xenophobia.



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