Islamabad, Jan 31: Pakistan, in a tit-for-tat move, summoned India’s High Commissioner on Thursday, a day after New Delhi summoned Islamabad’s representative in India to lodge a protest over Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s telephone call to Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua summoned India’s High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria in the morning to lodge a protest over New Delhi’s move, Dawn online reported.
The row started after Qureshi telephoned Mirwaiz Farooq on Tuesday and spoke about Islamabad’s efforts to “highlight” the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir blamed on India.
In reaction, India told Pakistan on Wednesday to lay off on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood.
Gokhale condemned “the latest brazen attempt by Pakistan to subvert India’s unity and to violate our sovereignty and territorial integrity, by none other than the Pakistan Foreign Minister”.
Janjua, according to the daily, told the Indian diplomat that Pakistan would continue to extend support to the people of Kashmir.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal also dismissed India’s objection to the phone call and “reaffirmed Islamabad’s support for the Kashmiri struggle for self determination”.
“Pakistan rejects Indian insinuations that equated the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination to terrorism.
“Kashmir is a disputed territory. The Indian government’s move to summon the Pakistani High Commissioner is an attempt to influence the upcoming election,” the Foreign Office said in a statement. “If you wish to contest your elections, don’t involve us in them.
“Pakistan will maintain its support and solidarity till the time the Kashmir dispute is resolved peacefully, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the people of the occupied valley,” it added.
Faisal also said that Pakistani leadership had always communicated with Kashmiri leadership and that Qureshi’s phone call was “not anything new”, according to Radio Pakistan.
Mirwaiz Farooq has also justified the telephone call, asking why was New Delhi so irked.
“Should the world not know about it? If India cares so much about its image, let them walk their talk of being a democracy and resolve the dispute democratically through talks and hold the promised referendum,” he had said.
New Delhi-Islamabad ties are frosted after repeated cross-border terror attacks from Pakistan-based terror outfits.