NEW YORK: Special assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi has said that a recent speech by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ‘crossed a red line’ by opining on Pakistan’s internal issues that further strained relations between the two countries.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal he said that the Indian premier’s comments can set back relations in a far more serious manner than anything that’s gone before.
In his speech to mark India’s Independence Day on Monday, Modi claimed that people in Balochistan and Gilgit had thanked him for his saying that their human rights had been violated.
Pakistan has all along said that India was fanning turmoil in its insurgency-hit province of Balochistan.
Fatemi said that the Indian leader’s speech showed that Delhi was in contact with militant elements in Balochistan.
On Wednesday, the United Nations’ top human rights official called on India and Pakistan to allow UN observers access to both sides of Kashmir, given grave concerns about recent allegations of serious human rights violations.
The newspaper said there was no immediate response from New Delhi or Islamabad to the UN request.
More than 47 people have died and thousands more been injured in recent weeks in clashes between Indian security forces and protesters in Indian occupied Kashmir. Indian has been making vain attempts to accuse Pakistan of fomenting trouble in Kashmir.
In the interview with WSJ, Fatemi said that Kashmir was an international dispute, whereas Balochistan was internal.
“We have never ever raised an issue in India which can be termed a domestic element of Indian politics,” he said.
This adds a new twist which is far beyond the usual exchange of allegations and mutual recriminations.
The newspaper said Indian officials were not reachable Wednesday night to respond to Fatemi’s comments.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has repeatedly said he wants to normalize relations with India.
Fatemi said the combination of Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan and a strong nationalist leader in India had created an opportunity that we rapidly appear to be losing for a political settlement between the countries.