A documentary on Pakistan’s economic reforms, highlighting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), will be screened at the Pakistan Day reception here on Thursday. The screening is significant as India has made its opposition to CPEC clear publicly. New Delhi has conveyed its objections forcefully to Pakistan and China through a note verbale and meetings in the last few months. Over 1,000 guests, including Kashmiri separatists, have been invited to the Pakistan High Commission. The event would be Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s last such engagement in Delhi. He is likely to leave by March- end after a three-year tenure.
Pakistani diplomats said some of the separatists were expected to attend the reception like previous years. In Islamabad, the Pakistan foreign ministry expressed its “serious concern” over the arrest or detention of separatist leaders and preventing them from attending the Pakistan National Day reception. It said that these “arbitrary restrictions are against the principles of democracy and freedom of movement”.
Separately, invitations have been sent to ambassadors, members of the diplomatic community and external affairs ministry’s Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran desk officials. Officials liaising with the high commission’s defence section and those who keep the phone lines between the directors-general of military operations of the two countries operational have been invited as well. Invites have been sent to politicians as part of an attempt to reach out to the political class. The invitation for the chief guest has been sent to the external affairs ministry. A minister is likely to be sent to the event as the two sides are engaged in different bilateral issues. A meeting on the Indus Water Treaty was held in Islamabad recently.
Union minister V K Singh had posted a series of tweets to register his displeasure over the decision to send him to the event in 2015. Kashmiri separatist leaders had attended the event. Singh had said, “#DUTY A task or action that a person is bound to perform for moral or legal reasons.” This was followed by two more tweets defining duty and then “#DISGUST To sicken or fill with loathing” and “#DISGUST To offend the moral sense, principles, or taste of.’’