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After India, now Pakistan summons high commissioner to lodge protest

Foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua lodged a protest with Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria over the summoning of Pakistan’s high commissioner Sohail Mahmood, foreign office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said at a weekly briefing

world Updated: Jan 31, 2019 21:33 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan,Indian high commissioner,summoned
Pakistan today summoned the Indian high commissioner to lodge a protest over New Delhi summoning its high commissioner to lodge a complaint over foreign minister S M Qureshi’s phone call to Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (File Photo)(HT Photo)

In a tit-for-tat move, Pakistan’s foreign office summoned Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria on Thursday, a day after New Delhi summoned the Pakistani envoy to lodge a protest over a telephone call made by foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshil to Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua lodged a protest with Bisaria over the summoning of Pakistan’s high commissioner Sohail Mahmood, foreign office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said at a weekly briefing.

On Wednesday night, Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale had summoned Pakistan’s envoy Sohail Mahmood to protest against the phone call made by Qureshi to Farooq, which New Delhi described as a “brazen attempt to subvert India’s unity.”

Pakistani media reported that Qureshi had in Tuesday’s phone call apprised Farooq, leader of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in Jammu and Kashmir, of Islamabad’s efforts to highlight the Kashmir issue at international forums and to expose alleged abuses committed by Indian security forces. He said India should permit a Commission of Inquiry to visit Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pakistani foreign minister informed the APHC chairman of upcoming events being organised in London at the House of Commons and an exhibition being held in the city on February 4 and 5. Farooq said that although he wished he could attend, his and his colleagues’ passports had been confiscated by Indian authorities to prevent them from travelling abroad.

The Pakistani foreign office spokesman said Islamabad rejected India’s objections to the telephone call and reaffirmed its support for what he called the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination. He said Pakistan rejected Indian insinuations that equated the struggle with terrorism.

“Kashmir is a disputed territory. The Indian government’s move to summon the Pakistani high commissioner is an attempt to influence the upcoming (Indian) elections,” Faisal said, adding: “If you wish to contest your elections, don’t involve us in them.”

He said the Pakistani leadership had always communicated with he Kashmiri leadership, referring to separatist groups, and added that Qureshi’s phone call to Farooq was not anything new.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 18:59 IST