ISLAMABAD: As normalcy returns to Pakistan and the threat of war with India recedes, the government says it has defeated India militarily, diplomatically and politically and has a moral upper hand on India.
The nation is united against India’s threat of aggression. The media’s role has been exemplary in this crisis, which has also been admitted by the international observers. Importantly, the state institutions are functioning quite ably and are united as a nation.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi meanwhile is sending back Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood, with a message that Pakistan wanted de-escalation.
Sohail met Qureshi here on Thursday before leaving for India, when Pakistan says consultations with its diplomat have been completed.
New Delhi will be told that it was imperative to maintain direct contacts between the two countries which would go a long way towards reducing tensions and the first discussions between the two sides would be held on March 14.
However, Pakistan stresses the point again that its desire to engage in dialogue should not be construed as a weakness.
Later, in the weekly media briefings, Foreign Office the spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal emphasised that Pakistan had always desired peace in the region, however, if it was attacked or shown aggression against, it will reply in the same coin.
“Regarding the current situation, I would state that a great deal of de-escalation has taken place. Pakistan has urged the need to engage in dialogue and resolve all disputes by negotiations. Furthermore, our prime minister and foreign minister have reached out to a number of world leaders. However, our desire to engage in a dialogue should not be construed as a sign of weakness. If the war is thrust upon us, we will not be found lacking. A befitting response would be given”, he responded to a query.
He pointed out that the Indian government had suggested that talks on Kartarpur Corridor should be held at Attari.
“We plan to send a delegation to India, on 14th March, 2019. Members of the journalistic community are more than welcome to join and I presume that the Indian authorities will facilitate the Pakistani media, reciprocating the manner in which Pakistan facilitated the Indian media personnel during the Kartarpur Ground Breaking Ceremony” he said.
While no decision has been taken as to where the March 28 meeting of the Indian delegation will be held, the spokesman said, “It is our desire that our guests visit us in Islamabad, but a decision will be taken after consultations with the Indian authorities.”
Pakistan says after normalisation of relations it is ready to hold dialogue on all subjects but Jammu & Kashmir will always remain the central issue.
Though there is no indication that the Modi government is inclined to talk to Pakistan on the eve of elections Pakistan reiterated that dialogue was essential.
“It has not been resolved, for over seven decades, and is still listed on the agenda of UN Security Council. The UN Security Council’s Resolutions need to be implemented and this dispute has to be resolved as per wishes of the Kashmiri people. Furthermore, the human rights abuses in Indian Held Kashmir need to be stopped immediately and investigated upon,” added the spokesman.
In this regard Pakistan is ready to hold dialogue on issues such as Siachen, Sir Creek, religious tourism, people-to-people contact and even terrorism.
“Importantly, Saarc has come to a standstill, while other regional organizations have performed much better than it and are way ahead. This region is lagging behind due to lack of Indian cooperation and its intransigent behavior”, he said.
When questioned about the Pakistani prisoner Shakirullah who was murdered inside an Indian prison, the spokesman said the in charge of Jaipur Jail, whose responsibility was to protect Shakirullah, had been accused in the FIR along with other people.
“The state of Pakistan is a complainant in this case, as he was a Pakistani national. Since it is a sensitive issue, especially for the family, we should discuss it carefully. As per the usual practice, the post-mortem should have been conducted in the presence of Pakistani High Commission’s officials. However, the Pakistani officials were not informed and the post-mortem was done in their absence”, he added.
“Pakistan will highlight this issue on every forum such as ICRC and others. We have already raised this issue bilaterally with India and will pursue it further”, he said.
Responding to questions about leaks in the Indian media of a confidential UN Ombudsperson report regarding de-listing, the spokesperson said, “We have neither seen the report of the Ombudsperson, nor its findings since it is a confidential document. We will respond to the report as and when it is made available to us.”
The spokesperson drew attention to the prescribed UN procedure for filing listing and de-listing requests by individuals and entities. Every listed individual or entity is legally entitled to submit de-listing requests directly with the UN Ombudsperson.
The spokesperson added that such leaks were neither new nor surprising. “They only reinforce longstanding concerns expressed by Pakistan about deliberate attempts to politicise the UN counter-terrorism sanction regime to advance self-serving political agendas,” he said.
The spokesperson expressed the hope that the relevant UN Sanctions Committee will investigate such leaks and hold those responsible to account.
Responding to several queries on the recently held OIC meeting, the spokesman said Pakistan boycotted the event in light of the resolution passed by the joint session of Parliament and took a principled stand that India’s participation at the platform of OIC was not acceptable for us at any cost. Pakistan did not attend any meeting, which had the presence of Ms. Sushma Swaraj. Pakistan will never accept even the presence of Indian officials, let alone their demands of membership of the OIC.
“India has been violating multiple resolutions of the UN Security Council and has committed aggression against a founding member of the OIC. This is an organization of the Islamic Ummah. Pakistan’s objectives regarding this organization are extremely clear and well-defined”, said the spokesman.
All the resolutions tabled by Pakistan were unanimously accepted – by 57 Muslim countries – despite the presence of the Indian external affairs minister.
Importantly, India was severely criticised in these resolutions for violating human rights in Jammu & Kashmir and threatening the peace and security of the region. Thus, all the objectives of Pakistan’s foreign policy were achieved quite successfully.
“It must also be noted that this invitation was not extended by the OIC but by the host country, as per their prerogative and Pakistan is in dialogue with Abu Dhabi on this matter,” said the spokesman.