US-India defence pact should not disturb South Asia’s strategic balance, says Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan on Thursday said it would like to see the recent defence deal between the United States and India did not disturb strategic balance of South Asia.

In his weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday, the Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said “Pakistan hoped the set arrangements do not contribute to polarizing the region by disturbing the strategic balance in South Asia and escalating the arms build-up”.

The Spokesman at a weekly press briefing said though the defence pact was an agreement between two sovereign countries, “Pakistan hoped it would contribute to peace and stability in the region”.

On Kashmir dispute, he said Pakistan would continue to extend support to Kashmiris in Indian-Occupied Kashmir till “justice is done”.

“We will continue to extend political and diplomatic to Kashmiris till justice is done to the people of Kashmir and the brutalities against them are ended,” he said.

The Spokesman said Pakistan’s efforts to highlight the Kashmir cause was a “matter of commitment” for it.

He mentioned a letter written by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the United Nations Secretary General on Wednesday in response to his letter acknowledging Pakistan’s commitment to the Kashmir cause.

“The Prime Minister has called upon the UN Secretary General to send a fact-finding mission to Kashmir, stressing that Azad Kashmir cannot be compared with Indian-Occupied Kashmir, having grim situation of human rights,” he said.

The letter has also pointed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on Balochistan are “an attempt to divert international community’s attention from the Kashmir dispute”.

On nomination of 22 parliamentarians by the Prime Minister to highlight Kashmir issue abroad, the Spokesman said it would be an effective and direct political channel in addition to the already in-place efforts of diplomatic envoys.

Zakaria said Pakistan was ready to hold dialogue with India whenever the latter was ready, however, stressed that Kashmir issue would be part of agenda.

“We cannot accept pre-conditions in talks,” he said when his attention was drawn to the statement of Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj saying that India would not engage with Pakistan in talks unless it hands over those involved in Pathankot incident.

The Spokesman said international community needed to play its role in resolution of Kashmir dispute, adding that the United Nations had a responsibility upon it to play in this regard.

To a question on India’s decision to replace the use of pellet shotguns with chilli-filled PAVA shells, he said Indian decision was acknowledgement of the heinous crimes being committed against innocent Kashmiris, that killed hundreds and left around 570 with eye injuries.

Source: APP