Pakistan on Thursday called Kashmiri separatists “freedom fighters”, a day after Defence Minister Arun Jaitley asked the country to draw a red line and decide whether it wants to talk to Government or those who want to break India.
“Kashmiris (Hurriyat) are not Indian separatists. They are freedom fighters. They belong to an occupied territory that has been recognised by the United Nations resolutions,” Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said.
However, the official transcript released by the Foreign Office later did not carry these remarks but said, “Kashmiris are not Indian separatists they are people in occupied territory struggling for their right to self-determination that has been recognised by the United Nations resolutions.”
The original quote was carried by various news websites in Pakistan including the state-run Radio Pakistan. The video of the press briefing was also available.
She was responding to a question from a Pakistani TV journalist, seeking a reaction to Jaitley’s comment.
Aslam also reacted sharply to Jaitley’s remarks that it should decide whether to talk to India or to separatist Kashmiri leaders, saying it does not accept “any conditionality” in the dialogue process.
“We do not accept any conditionality,” she said.
Asking Pakistan to make a “conscious” choice, Jaitley had on Wednesday said it should draw a red line whether it wants to talk to government of India or those who want to break India.
“We create the environment, we fix up a dialogue at the level of Foreign Secretaries, our Foreign Secretary is to visit Pakistan (and) literally a few hours before that they invite the separatists for a dialogue to their High Commission (in New Delhi).
“So I think a new red line has to be drawn in Pakistan to reconsider this question that who they want to speak to? Do they want to speak to the Government of India or they want to speak to those who want to break India,” he had said.