India protests against human rights violations in Pakistan ironic: Sartaj Aziz

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, June 2, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on foreign affairs and national security Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday said that India's request to Pakistan to create an environment free of violence is "ironic".

The adviser reacted to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, calling India's request ironic in light of India's repeated violations of ceasefires at the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, human rights violations against Kashmiris in Indian-Occupied Kashmir, and subversive activities in Pakistan.

He dismissed the Indian concern over the slow pace of the Mumbai attack trials in Pakistan, saying that the cases were proceeding in court.

"Indian concern over slow progress calls into question their own reluctance to cooperate by not allowing the Judicial Commission’s visit to India until September 2013", the adviser said.

He said that Pakistan also had concerns regarding information related to the trial of the Indian military’s active service officers named by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member ─ and mastermind of the Samjhota terrorist incident ─ Swami Aseemanand had not been shared.

Aziz recalled that Samjhota happened two years prior to the Mumbai attacks but the victims’ families were still awaiting justice.

Referring to the 'principle' of creating an atmosphere of harmony that is free of terror and violence, the minister said that peace is multi-dimensional process.

The adviser referred to the recent articulation of Indian policy by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, which confirmed Pakistan’s apprehensions regarding Indian involvement in terrorism in Pakistan.

He said Pakistan is most affected by terrorism and had sacrificed thousands of lives in its counter-terrorism efforts. He said terrorism is a common challenge, and fighting this menace required collective efforts.

Speaking about a Pak-India dialogue, Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan has conveyed to India that it remains committed to dialogue, provided India is ready.

Kashmiri right to self-determination

He also spoke of the right of Kashmiris to self-determination, saying, "Pakistan believes in a sustained, comprehensive, and result-oriented dialogue.

"Pakistan also believes that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are important stakeholders in the final resolution of the Kashmir dispute since they have yet to exercise their right to self-determination as enshrined in numerous UN Resolutions," he said. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

The adviser expressed surprise over the Indian EAM's remarks that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was "not acceptable".

"The mega project is all about regional connectivity and economic development and prosperity of the common people of the entire region. There is dichotomy in the Indian statements on their pronouncements on the importance of the regional connectivity for development and their negative comments about CPEC", Aziz said.

He said Pakistan maintains a policy of non-interference in other countries’ bilateral relations, and expects others to refrain from commenting on Pakistan’s bilateral relations with other countries as well.



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