Pakistan’s political leadership on Monday warned that any unilateral revocation of the Indus Waters Treaty would amount to “an act of aggression” as it played down the Indian Army’s surgical strikes across the LoC as a “ludicrous” claim.
Leaders of political parties, during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad, sought to project the Kashmir issue as the main cause of tensions with India. They also rejected New Delhi’s assertion that Kashmir is an integral part of India.
The political leadership’s stance was similar to the one that emerged when Sharif chaired a meeting of his cabinet a day after the surgical strikes on Thursday.
The statement issued after the meeting focussed mainly on Kashmir and referred to what it described as India’s “interference in Balochistan ” and use of “water as a weapon ” against the people of Pakistan.
The leaders said any attempt at unilateral revocation of Indus Waters Treaty would “be taken as an act of aggression”. They asked Sharif to strengthen national unity to deal with external threats.
The statement said the leaders had rejected “ludicrous Indian claims of carrying out ‘surgical strike’ across the LoC as blatantly false and brazen attempts at diverting international attention” from the situation in Kashmir.
The leaders said Pakistan’s people, political parties and armed forces were “firmly united in supporting the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination”. They repeated Pakistan’s allegations of rights abuses in Kashmir following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani and condemned “unprovoked Indian aggression and repeated ceasefire violations”.
The leaders rejected “Indian efforts to shift the focus from its brutal atrocities” to “false claims of terrorism across the LoC”. They also rejected India’s “ridiculous claims that Kashmir is an integral part of India”, saying the issue is a “dispute between two sovereign UN members”.
They accused India of “interference in Balochistan” and claimed the capture of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav had substantiated “attempts to destabilise” the province.
They further accused India of scuttling “all diplomatic efforts for bilateral and multilateral dialogue, including the refusal to engage constructively at the SAARC forum”.
The meeting, held hours after militants attacked an army camp at Baramulla and an exchange of fire on the LoC, was attended by leaders of most of Pakistan’s political parties.
Some key leaders who attended the meet were Pakistan People’s Party co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Fazalur Rehman of the JUI-F, Mehmood Khan Achakzai of PKMAP, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour of the ANP, Farooq Sattar of the MQM, Shah Mahmood Qureshi of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Siraj-ul-Haq of the Jamaat-e-Islami.