India warns Pakistan against globalising Kashmir (Roundup)

August 14th, 2008 - 1:07 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Islamabad, Aug 13 (IANS) Taking strong exception to Pakistan’s attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue, India Wednesday warned Islamabad to desist from such a course of action that is “gratuitous and illegal” and has the potential to harm the peace process between the two countries. “The government of India finds deeply objectionable the series of remarks by the official spokesman and leaders in Pakistan on recent events in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said.

“We are witnessing a recurrence of Pakistani rhetoric and allegations that are factually wrong and that bear no relationship to reality,” he added.

“To call for international involvement in the sovereign internal affairs of India is gratuitous, illegal and only reflects reversion to a mindset that has led to no good consequences for Pakistan in the past,” he underlined.

“It is not too late for Pakistani leaders and spokesmen to desist from the course of action that they have recently embarked upon, and we would urge them to do so forthwith,” said the foreign office spokesperson in a statement.

This is New Delhi’s third warning to Islamabad in a week asking the latter to desist from meddling in its internal affairs, indicating that such posturing has the potential to derail the over four-year-old peace process between the two neighbours.

Moreover, this also goes against the spirit of the composite dialogue and the 1972 Simla pact under which both parties agreed to resolve the Kashmir issue bilaterally.

Taking strong exception to Pakistan’s allegation of “excessive use of force” in Jammu and Kashmir, India Tuesday had said such remarks constituted “clear interference in its internal affairs” and can affect the peace process between the two countries.

Last week, India had criticized the Pakistan Senate’s resolution on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir saying it “was gross interference in its internal affairs”.

This is an unambiguous message to Pakistan that its efforts to cash in on simmering unrest in the Kashmir Valley over a land transfer row involving the Amarnath shrine will not succeed.

The recurrence of rhetoric, reminiscent of bitterness of an earlier time in India-Pakistan relations where such tit-for-tat statements were common, is seen in New Delhi as an attempt by hawks in Pakistan to put the Kashmir issue again on the centrestage.

New Delhi feels that Islamabad is trying to distract attention from its alleged complicity in the bombings on the Indian mission in Kabul last month and its alleged continued patronage of terror activities in India, official sources said.

Pakistan Wednesday had urged the international community to press India for “restraint” in the Kashmir Valley, where 20 people, including senior Hurriyat leader Shaikh Abdul Aziz, were killed in police firings early this week during protests over the land transfer to a board that manages the Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.

“We are deeply concerned over the deteriorating situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir which is resulting in loss of life and property of the Kashmiri people and violation of their human rights,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq told reporters in Islamabad earlier Wednesday.

He called on the UN and human rights organisations to take notice of the “gross violation of human rights of Kashmiri people, unwarranted violence against them and their economic blockade perpetrated by extremist elements”.

For the last two months, both the Hindu-majority Jammu region and the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley have been locked in unparalleled strife on communal lines over the transfer and subsequent revocation of 40 hectares of land to the Amarnath board.

The burning issue has set off a wave of protests, shutdowns and violence first in the Kashmir Valley, then in Jammu - and now again in the valley - virtually paralysing the border state.

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