ISLAMABAD (PPA) – Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan was highly disappointed by India’s U-turn for talks between two foreign ministers in New York on the sidelines of UN General Assembly Session.
Imran Khan has written a letter to Indian Prime Minister Modi early this month suggesting the resumption of talks between the two nations adding that Pakistan remains ready to discuss terrorism while “discussions on trade, people to people contacts, religious tourism, and humanitarian issues are also important.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his “disappointed at the arrogant & negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue.”
He also added in his twit that “however, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”
On September 20, India announced its readiness for talks with Pakistani foreign minister on the sidelines of UN meeting. But within 24 hours India reversed its decision, canceled the meeting and used undiplomatic language against Prime Minister Imran Khan who had been polite and promoting dialogue with all neighbors.
Pakistani officials say that India was highly disturbed by PM Imran Khan’s diplomatic offensive to improve ties with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran and revive strategic ties with China, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.
Military observers in Pakistan are warning that Indian Armed Forces faced with a scandal over Indo-France Rafale deal may try to launch an “adventure” but Pakistanis have warned that any misadventure may turn into a disaster for the region.
Pakistan surprised at Indian U-turn
Reacting to India’s U-turn Pakistan Foreign Office issued a statement on September 21 which says that “Government of Pakistan is deeply disappointed at the announcement made by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi today about the cancellation of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan”.
An Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson referred to the “killing of Indian security forces” allegedly by “Pakistani entities” and Islamabad’s decision to release stamps allegedly “glorifying terrorists” as the reasons behind the cancellation of the meeting.
Pakistan Foreign Office 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.
Refuting India’s allegations against Pakistan, Foreign Office in Islamabad also noted that “motivated and malicious propaganda” against Pakistan continued in India and offered that Pakistan was prepared to conduct a joint investigation to establish the truth.
“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”, Pakistan Foreign Office added.
On September 22, 2018, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said he was “deeply saddened” by how New Delhi first accepted and later backtracked from a meeting between Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj.
Speaking to reporters at Islamabad airport before departing on a visit to the United States, the minister said it was their understanding that it would be beneficial for the entire region if countries sat down for dialogue and find solutions to the outstanding issues.
Qureshi said the Indian government had to “look for reasons” to justify canceling the meeting after initially agreeing to it, adding that New Delhi had used the issue of stamps of Kashmiri freedom fighters as an “excuse”.
Although the stamps were issued on July 24, a day before the general elections were held, the issue was raised by Indian media in the 24 hours after New Delhi agreed to the meeting.
On September 22, Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat was quoted as saying that he welcomed government’s (Indian) decision to call off talks with Pakistan and added that “it’s time to give it back to Pakistan army and terrorists.”
“Talks and terrorism can’t go hand in hand,” said General Bipin Rawat soon after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called India’s decision “arrogant and negative”.
Indian Army Chief was also quoted by ANI news agency that “India needs to take stern action to avenge the barbarism carried out by terrorists and Pakistan army.”
“Yes, it’s time to give it back to them in the same coin … not resorting to similar kind of barbarism. But I think the other side must also feel the same pain,” Rawat was quoted as saying. Distancing himself from the developing controversy in India over Indo-France Rafale deal, Rawat said the Army needs modern weapons.
Pakistan reacts to Indian offensive statement
Within hours Pakistan’s armed forces spokesperson, Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor reacted to the Indian Army Chief’s warning to Pakistan and warned India against ‘warmongering’.
Major General Asif Ghafoor, the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) once again reminded India that “Pakistan is a nuclear power and suggested that New Delhi should stop trying to “test our patience”. He also called the Indian army chief’s statement “irresponsible”.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said the Indian army chief should not behave as BJP chief and must not become a ‘tool’ to propagate negative messages.
“The whole world is watching who wants peace and who wants war,” he said, adding that despite Indian belligerence, Pakistan would continue to make efforts for peace. “Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed countries; therefore there is no possibility of war.” The information minister also took to Twitter to respond to unprovoked Indian threatening statements.