A day after India cancelled Foreign Secretary-level talks over Pakistani envoy’s meeting with Kashmiri separatists, Pakistan on Tuesday reacted strongly saying it was “not subservient” to New Delhi and was a “legitimate stakeholder” in the Kashmir dispute.
Arguing that High Commissioner Abdul Basit did not interfere in India’s internal affairs, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam claimed that Kashmir was not part of India.
“That is just a pretext. It was not the first time that meetings with Hurriyat leaders took place. It is been happening for decades,” Tasnim said.
She was replying to Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh telling Basit to not to go ahead with the meeting in New Delhi and to choose between dialogue with India or with the Kashmiri separatists.
“The High Commissioner of Pakistan did not interfere in India’s internal affairs. Pakistan is not subservient to India. It is a sovereign country, a legitimate stakeholder in the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” she said. Aslam, who has previously served in India, asserted that “Kashmir is not part of India”.
“It is a disputed territory. There are numerous UN resolutions,” she said. Pakistan on Monday had described the cancellation of next week’s Foreign Secretary-level talks as a “setback” to Indo-Pak ties.
The remarks came after India called off talks between Foreign Secretaries of the two countries scheduled to be held in Islamabad on August 25, telling Pakistan bluntly to choose between an Indo-Pak dialogue or hobnobbing with the separatists.
India cancelled the talks, raising strong objections to consultations held with separatist Hurriyat leaders by Pakistan’s High Commissioner.