Joint statement favours India, say Pakistan opposition parties

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Sushma Swaraj, Islamabad, Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif

The Pakistan government has been roundly criticised by opposition parties for coming out with a joint statement, favouring New Delhi at the cost of Islamabad’s stance on the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) issue.

Shireen Mazari of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led the attack in Parliament. Her reservations over the outcome of talks between India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, reported the Dawn.

“While the statement addressed Indian concerns over the Mumbai trial, what about Samjhauta Express case and J&K cause, which the government recently took up at the UN and kept boasting about taking such a stand,” said Mazari.

She also wondered whether the resumption of bilateral talks meant Pakistan had relinquished its options to use multilateral fora to take up the issues, particularly J&K. Questioning the statement, she said, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must clarify on the floor of the House.

Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman expressed similar sentiments. “When Pakistan highlights the Kashmir issue at the UN under its resolution, India says it’s a bilateral issue and at the bilateral level, the Indian argument has been that J&K is its integral part.

“Then the government must explain at what level it intends to take it up with India,” he said. Rehman said the J&K issue under the UN resolution, none can bar Pakistan from highlighting it at any forum in the world.

However, the JUI-F chief, whose party shares the treasury benches with the ruling PML-N, praised Nawaz Sharif for organising the Heart of Asia ministerial conference on Afghanistan which he believed would go a long way in bringing regional countries together.

Leader of Opposition Khursheed Ahmed Shah, however, reserved harsh comments for the PM for his continued absence from the assembly.

“Whom should I address? Empty chairs on the treasury benches? I have decided I will not open the discussion on the presidential address unless the PM attends the House proceedings,” he said.