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Wednesday, April 17, 2024  
09 Shawwal 1445  

Pakistan hits out at US and India after Biden-Modi meeting

'We are surprised that it has been added despite Pakistan’s close counterterrorism cooperation with US,' says FO
In this file photo, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch addresses a press conference. Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News
In this file photo, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch addresses a press conference. Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News

The foreign office has described the joint statement from the US-India on Pakistan as ‘unwarranted, one-sided, and misleading’.

“We consider the Pakistan-specific reference in the ‘Joint Statement from the United States and India’, issued on 22 June 2023, as unwarranted, one-sided, and misleading,” the Foreign Office said in a statement while responding to media queries regarding the June 22 statement.

US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called on Pakistan to “take immediate action” to ensure that its territory is not used to launch “extremist attacks,” the White House said in a joint statement.

Relations between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan have been fraught for years. Since British colonial rule in the Indian subcontinent ended in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars, two of them over the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.

India has for years accused Pakistan of helping militants who have battled Indian security forces in its part of occupied Kashmir since the late 1980s. Pakistan denies the accusation and says it only provides diplomatic and moral support for Kashmiris seeking self-determination.

The special status given to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir was revoked in 2019 when New Delhi split it into two federally controlled territories. Pakistan calls the moves illegal and wants them rolled back.

Over the past years, Pakistan in veiled references has accused its neighbour of supporting terrorist attacks in the country. Islamabad has alleged that the same country was prompting anti-state elements in Balochistan.

The FO was of the view that the reference was contrary to diplomatic norms and has political overtones. “We are surprised that it has been added despite Pakistan’s close counterterrorism cooperation with the US.”

Pakistan has rendered “unmatched sacrifices” in the fight against terrorism, it said. “In laying down their lives, our law enforcement agencies and armed forces have set an example. People of Pakistan are the real heroes in this fight.”

The FO stated that the international community has time and again recognised Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism. It has long concluded that terrorism can be defeated through “concerted and cooperative actions”.

“Today, we fail to see how the assertions made in the joint statement could strengthen the international resolve to fight terrorism. The statement shows that the cooperative spirit, so vitally needed to defeat the scourge of terrorism, has been sacrificed at the altar of geopolitical considerations.”

Islamabad accused Delhi of being a state-sponsor of terrorism and using terrorism “bogey to deflect attention” from its repression of Kashmiri people in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and maltreatment of its minorities. “It is thus completely ill-placed to caste any aspersions on Pakistan and its fight against terrorism.”

It was of the view that the joint statement failed to address the key sources of tension and instability in the region and to take cognizance of the grave human rights situation in IIOJK. “This is tantamount to abdication of international responsibility.”

Moreover, the country was concerned over the planned transfer of advanced military technologies to India, citing that such steps were accentuating “military imbalance” in the region and undermining strategic stability.

Biden and Modi will sign off on a deal to allow General Electric to produce jet engines in India to power Indian military aircraft, through an agreement with Hindustan Aeronautics.

US Navy ships in the region will be able to stop in Indian shipyards for repairs under a maritime agreement, and India will procure US-made armed MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones.

“We urge our international partners to take a holistic and objective view of the issues of peace and security in South Asia and refrain from endorsing one-sided positions.”

Defence Minister Asif advises Biden to consider facts

In a tweet, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif advised the US president to consider facts the next time he fetes the butcher of Gujarat“.

“The irony of this statement coming during the visit of someone who was banned entry to the US for overseeing a pogrom of Muslims when he was CM Gujarat,” Asif tweeted.

“He [Modi] leads yet another campaign of state-sponsored terrorism in [Indian-held] Kashmir, which includes routinely maiming and blinding the local population. Across the rest of the country, Modi’s acolytes lynch Muslims, Christians and other minorities, with impunity.

“Pakistan has lost countless lives and has been continuously at war with terrorism for decades now, owing to failed American interventions in the region,” the defence minister said.

The matter was also discussed during the National Assembly session.

Asif recalled that the US had distanced itself from Modi after the 2002 riots in Gujarat.

US officials had refused to meet Modi after the Gujrat riots and in 2005, the country had denied him a visa after human rights groups had accused the Indian PM of not moving to halt the carnage.

“It was acknowledged that terrorist activity happened there [in Gujarat] under Modi’s endorsement,” he said and added that the same was currently under way against India’s minorities and in occupied Kashmir.

The defence minister highlighted that the country has supported the US in two wars in Afghanistan for the last 40 years. “Pakistan is still paying the price for becoming part of the US-led war on terror and yet there is no acknowledgement,” he said and described the US-India joint statement as a “basis of dishonour” for the nation.

“We sold our people to them and the result of that is the joint communique by President Biden and the Butcher of Gujarat [in which they have] accused Pakistan of terrorism.”

Pakistan needs to stay away from world politics, says Foreign Minister Bilawal

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has stressed that Pakistan needed to stay away from world politics and internally reflect and focus on its own issues and problems.

“It is necessary to correct them first and then we can achieve our international targets,” he said on the floor of the house on Friday. “I don’t believe there is any reason for Pakistan to be insecure about its relationship with the world or its bilateral partnership with the US as a result of the increasingly close cooperation between India and the US.”

He was of the view that in the past 14 months, the world had moved on from Afghanistan to Ukraine and was not paying attention to terrorism.

“It is very easy to write in a statement to focus on terrorism, but if that attention is not there then the issue would not be solved,” the foreign minister said.

He added that neither the US nor Europe nor the world was focused on the issue of terrorism after the fall of Kabul.

“Their first attention is geopolitics and then other issues. We think terrorism is such an issue that major powers shouldn’t make it controversial or a victim of their geopolitics.

“If we have to correctly combat terrorism, we will do it ourselves in our country and if we have to combat it together in the rest of the world, then we can only do so when our international partners take the issue as seriously and say: ‘Our other issues and conflicts in the world aside, we will not do geopolitics on terrorism and the whole world will combat it as one’,” he said.

“Only then will we be able to uproot and eliminate it,” the foreign minister said.

Bilawal stated that Pakistan would take action against terrorism not because the joint statement mentioned it, but due to the aspirations of its people and its national security needs.

“Why will we not want to eliminate terrorism? … we want to combat terrorism,” he said, “This issue is ours today and God forbid can become some other country’s problem tomorrow.”

US-India statement

US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Pakistan to “take immediate action” to ensure that its territory is not used to launch “extremist attacks.”.

“President Biden and Prime Minister Modi reiterated the call for concerted action against all UN-listed terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb-ul-Mujhahideen,” the joint statement from White House said.

Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba group, is blamed by India for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed over 160 people over three days, beginning the evening of Nov 26.

“They (Biden and Modi) called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to be brought to justice,” their joint statement said.

In the 2016 attack on India’s Pathankot air base, seven Indian security personnel were killed.

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