India’s reasons to cancel talks unconvincing: Pakistan

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Srinagar: Pakistan on Saturday expressed disappointment over the cancellation of talks by the government of India which were to be held on the sidelines of UNGA in New York.

In a statement issued by the Pakistan Foreign Affiars Ministry, a spokesperson of the ministry said that the reasons cited by the Indian side for the decision to cancel the Foreign Ministers meeting, within 24 hours of its public confirmation, are entirely unconvincing.

“The so-called disturbing developments alluded to in the Indian statement predated the Indian agreement to hold the bilateral meeting in New York,” the statement said.

The statement said: “Firstly, the alleged killing of BSF soldier took place two days prior to the Indian announcement of its agreement to hold the bilateral meeting. When the allegations of Pakistans involvement first appeared, the Pakistan Rangers clearly conveyed to BSF through official channels that Pakistan had nothing to do with it. Pakistan Rangers also extended help in efforts to locate the soldiers body. These facts were known to the Indian authorities and a part of the Indian media also reported that Pakistan had refuted its involvement. Yet, this motivated and malicious propaganda continued. Pakistan takes this opportunity to categorically reject these allegations once again. Our authorities would be prepared to conduct a joint investigation to establish the truth.”

It further added that the postage stamps mentioned in the Indian statement were issued before the 25 July 2018 elections, as a result of which the Government of Prime Minister Imran Khan assumed office. The stamps highlight the “gross and systematic human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir, which were extensively documented also in a comprehensive report issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights” as late as June 2018. “By falsely raising the canard of “terrorism”, India can neither hide its unspeakable crimes against the Kashmiri people nor can it delegitimise their indigenous struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination.”

“Most unfortunate is the reference in the Indian MEA statement to the person of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. We choose not to further comment beyond saying that these comments are against all norms of civilised discourse and diplomatic communication.

“We believe by its ill-considered cancellation of the meeting, India has once again wasted a serious opportunity to change the dynamics of the bilateral relationship and put the region on the path of peace and development.”