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Regret ‘Indian design’ to scuttle efforts for dialogue: Pak envoy in US

Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani has called on Washington and the international community to help resolve the Kashmir dispute and not allow India to divert attention from “atrocities being committed against civilians”.

india Updated: Oct 22, 2016 16:39 IST
This file photo shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi with  Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
This file photo shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.(AFP File Photo)

Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani has called on Washington and the international community to help resolve the Kashmir dispute and not allow India to divert attention from “atrocities being committed against civilians”.

Delivering a keynote address at the World Affairs Council, a Washington-based think-tank on Thursday night, the envoy said he regretted that India was undermining all diplomatic efforts for a dialogue, including its refusal to engage at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) forum, Dawn online reported on Saturday.

“The peace and stability in South Asia will not be possible without resolving underlying disputes, particularly the Jammu and Kashmir being the core dispute; measures for nuclear and missile restraint; and balance with regard to conventional arms,” Jilani said.

“Pakistan’s proposal for a strategic restraint regime, based on these three inter-locking elements, remains on the table,” he said.

Pakistan, he added, has positioned itself as a mainstream partner in the international non-proliferation regime as well as the global efforts to strengthen nuclear security and safety.

On the issue of Kashmir, Jilani said Kashmir, as a nuclear flashpoint, must not be underestimated.

“The international community and the US in particular need to play a role in seeking a peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.

“The recent indigenous uprising in Kashmir bears testimony to the aspiration of Kashmiri people in seeking what the international community had promised but not delivered,” he added.

India said on Friday it gunned down seven Pakistani border guards in retaliation to “unprovoked firing” by the neighbouring country in the Jammu sector where the government started shifting villagers to safer places in bulletproof vehicles.

Pakistan’s army refuted the claim, with a military spokesperson saying there was “no loss (of life)” on their side of the border.

The escalation of hostilities along the International Border in Jammu came nearly three weeks after the Indian government announced that its solders had crossed the de-facto border and destroyed several terrorist launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The cross-border “surgical strikes”, denied by Pakistan, has dipped relations between New Delhi and Islamabad to its worst in many years, with hawks in both countries calling for an all-out war.

India blames the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) for the recent militant attack at an army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir and also for an earlier terror strike at an air force base in Pathankot. The Uri attack left 19 Indian soldiers dead.

On Thursday, Jilani emphasised that India must not be allowed to deflect international attention from human rights violations and atrocities under the pretext of political expediency.

On Pakistan-US relations, he shared perspective on trends and prospects in the longstanding relationship and its continuing significance to the foreign policy of Pakistan.

He said “Pakistan enjoys a long-standing strategic partnership with the US and, though the history of our relationship has seen its ups and downs, it has certainly survived multiple tests of times”.

Highlighting Pakistan’s role as a frontline state in the global war against terrorism, the Jilani said that tens of thousands of Pakistani citizens and thousands of security personnel had been killed or injured in terrorist attacks.

“Pakistan had also suffered a loss of over $100 billion,” he said, adding that Islamabad’s commitment to fight terrorism was second to none.

On the situation in Afghanistan, he said peace and stability in the war-torn country remained a common objective of Pakistan and the US.