News Desk |
Maithripala Sirisena, the President of Sri Lanka, on Friday, detached himself from Islamabad’s claim of offers for mediation and dialogue facilitation emerging from Sri Lanka in an attempt to resume the SAARC platform and a find a peaceful resolution to the ongoing regional tensions.
The office of the Sri Lankan President distanced the President from the remarks of mediation between India and Pakistan over the ongoing escalations in Indian-occupied Kashmir-as quoted by a press release issued by the Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Distanced from Pak-India Tensions
Earlier on Wednesday, the Pakistan High Commission issued a press release to apprise the media of the meeting between President Maithripala Sirisena and Pakistan’s High Commission to Sri Lanka, retired Major General Dr. Shahid Ahmed Hashmat.
The press release stated, “The President acknowledged that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and expressed his desire that this dispute should be resolved according to the wishes of Kashmiris under UN Resolutions.”
The valley of Kashmir has entered its 19th day of curfew, an unprecedented communications blackout and acute shortage of food supplies and life-saving drugs.
The press release also stated that President Sirisena had offered Sri Lanka to play the role of a mediator and facilitator of a dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi in an attempt to re-activate the platform of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
It added, “He also offered Sri Lanka’s mediation and facilitation of dialogue between Pakistan and India to re-activate the SAARC forum. He further said that resolution of Kashmir issue is essential for permanent peace and stability in the region.”
Later on Thursday, the media wing of the Sri Lankan President’s office issued a statement, distancing the President from the remarks attributed to him in the press release issued by the Pakistan High Commission.
Pakistan ambassador in Srilanka caught in a lie. He claimed that he discussed Kashmir in a meeting with the Sri Lankan President and the President flat out denied it. pic.twitter.com/nXjMFB89Sq
— Haji Pasha (@HarPasha) August 23, 2019
The press release noted that the meeting between President Sirisena and the Pakistani High Commissioner took place at the request of the latter. The press release read, “The President’s Media Division wishes to state that the said meeting took place at the request of the High Commissioner of Pakistan and during which he briefed the President about the recent developments with regard to India’s abrogation of Article 370 and annulling of Article 35A of the Constitution of India.”
It added, “The President gave a patient hearing to the Pakistan High Commissioner’s views and stated that both India and Pakistan have excellent friendly relations with Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka’s interest is to see the growth of regional cooperation and friendship. The President did not make any other comment on the issues pertaining to India and Pakistan.”
Islamabad’s Diplomatic Efforts
The response of Sri Lanka President, misinterpreted by the Pakistani High Commission, was being lauded as a diplomatic win for Islamabad; however, the press release from the President’s office quickly turned it into a diplomatic embarrassment.
On 5th August, the Hindu nationalist BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi forcefully abolished the special constitutional status of the occupied Himalayan valley, a move that has alarmed the people of Muslim-majority Kashmir and Pakistan.
The valley of Kashmir has entered its 19th day of curfew, an unprecedented communications blackout and acute shortage of food supplies and life-saving drugs. India’s unilateral and unlawful move, coupled with its aggressive posturing and ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) have renewed tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
This dispute needs to be resolved as per UN Security Council Resolutions and India must immediately stop its grave violations of human rights.
As part of its diplomatic outreach for mediation and de-escalation, Islamabad is reaching out to the international community in an attempt to unveil the fascist nature of the Modi-led Hindu extremist government, and its agendas to alter the demographic scenario of Muslim-majority Kashmir.
Dr. Mohammad Faisal, official spokesperson of the Foreign Office, apprised the media on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s engagements with foreign ministers from multiple countries at the regular press briefing held on Thursday.
Dr. Faisal informed that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has held telephonic conversations with the Russian Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, Foreign Minister of Spain, Foreign Minister of Canada, Foreign Minister of France, and with the Foreign Minister of Norway, Foreign Minister of Denmark, Foreign Minister of Ivory Coast and the Foreign Minister of Sweden.
Responding to a question on the likelihood of New Delhi prolonging the curfew for another six months, and reports of young Kashmir women being kidnapped and abused, Dr. Faisal noted that Pakistan intends to address these “highly condemnable” human rights violations at multiple international forums.
Dr. Faisal said, “We are exploring all options and active consultations between all stakeholders are underway. We will share the details very soon regarding the steps that Pakistan is planning to take. The incidents that you have quoted are highly condemnable and are being reported in the international media.”
“India cannot besiege the Kashmiris and impose an indefinite curfew in the Indian occupied valley. This dispute needs to be resolved as per UN Security Council Resolutions and India must immediately stop its grave violations of human rights.”