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In response to the media queries regarding Pakistan’s reaction to Mrs. Shushma Swaraj, the Indian External Affairs Minister’s media statement, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security & Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, said that the ‘Prime Minister’s vision envisages improved relations with all its neighbours including India. It was in this spirit that the Prime Minister attended the Oath taking ceremony of Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi on 26 May 2014. The primary objective of this vision is economic development of the region.

Pakistan’s policy all along has been that all outstanding disputes, particularly the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir should be resolved through dialogue. Pakistan has conveyed to India that it remains committed to dialogue, provided India is ready. 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.

Referring to the “principle” of creating an atmosphere of harmony, free of terror and violence, the Adviser said that peace is multi-dimensional process. When India keeps violating ceasefire at the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, indulges in worst human rights violations against helpless Kashmiris in Indian occupied Kashmir, and undertakes subversive activities in Pakistan, then asking Pakistan to create an environment free of violence only sounds ironical.

In this context, 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.

Pakistan is most affected by terrorism and has sacrificed thousands of lives in its counter-terrorism efforts. Terrorism is thus a common challenge, and fighting this menace requires collective efforts.

As regards the Mumbai trial, it is proceeding in the Court of Law. 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. Pakistan has its concerns too. Information on the trial of Indian Military’s active service officers named by the RSS member Swami Aseemanand, who was the mastermind, has not been shared. Scores of Pakistanis lost lives in the Samjhota terrorist incident. Samjhota happened two years earlier than Mumbai attacks. The victims’ families are still waiting for delivery of justice.

On Indian concern over Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, the Adviser said that he was rather surprised by the Indian EAM’s remarks that it is ‘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.

The Adviser added, it should be clear that Pakistan and China enjoy exemplary relations. Pakistan maintains a policy of non-interference in other countries’ bilateral relations and expects the same from others to refrain from commenting on Pakistan’s bilateral relations with other countries. As the Spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry has said, “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a major Cooperation Framework between the two countries and is not against any third party”.

02 June, 2015

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