New Delhi: In a clear rebuff to Pakistan, India’s external affairs ministry Wednesday said that following the Simla Agreement of 1972, India and Pakistan were the only two stakeholders on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and “none else”.
Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin wrote on Twitter: “Following Simla Agreement there are only 2 ‘stakeholders’ on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir – India & Pakistan. None else.”
“An approach different to the one laid down in the Simla Agreement & Lahore Declaration does not yield results in India-Pakistan relations,” he said.
Akbaruddin’s statement came in reaction to Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit saying that his meeting with Kashmiri separatists Monday and Tuesday was “a long-standing practice” and “it is important to engage with all stakeholders”.
On the Pakistan high commissioner saying that he met the Hurriyat leaders because they were the representatives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and stakeholders in the Kashmir issue, Akbaruddin said the Simla Agreement “is a principle which is the bedrock of our bilateral relations. This was reaffirmed in the Lahore Declaration of 1999 between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee”.
He said Pakistan had given assurance to India “at the highest level, that they were committed to a peaceful dialogue on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and they would not allow Pakistan or territories under its control to be used for terrorism against us”.
“We know now, particularly after the Mumbai terror attacks and the manner in which Pakistan has pursued subsequent investigations and trials, that this assurance had no meaning and that an approach that is different to the one laid down by the Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration does not yield results.”
Basit said his meeting with the Hurriyat leaders was “to find a viable solution to the Kashmir issue”.
“It was in the larger context of exploring peaceful means towards resolving the issue. This has been a long standing practice, I have nothing more to add to this,” Basit said.
“Kashmiris are legitimate stakeholders in finding a peaceful solution to the issue. We had been meeting Kashmiri leaders for the past 20 years. The objective of this interaction is to engage all stakeholders in order to find a viable, peaceful solution to the problem,” Basit said in an interaction at the Foreign Correspondents Club here.
Basit also stressed on the need to look at the Kashmir issue “dispassionately and in a more realistic manner”.
On Tuesday, Basit met hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and moderate leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, a day after India called off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan over the issue.
He also met Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Mohammad Yasin Malik.
In Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said Pakistan was “not subservient to India. It is a sovereign country and a legitimate stakeholder in the Jammu and Kashmir dispute”.
Aslam also asserted that “Kashmir is not part of India. It is a disputed territory”.
India called off the foreign secretary-level talks scheduled for Aug 25 over Basit holding talks with Kashmiri separatist leaders despite Islamabad being asked not to.
Pakistan described the decision to cancel the talks as a setback to its efforts to promote good neighbourly relations.
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.