Amid Pathankot tensions with India, Pakistan plays Kashmir card


Mamnoon Hussain

Raking up the Kashmir issue once again in the mist of rising tensions over alleged involvement of Pakistan-based elements in the Pathankot terror attack in India, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain has said that his country will continue to support the Kashmiris and their right to self-determination. “The support for the right of self-determination for Kashmiri people is the basic principle of Pakistan’s foreign policy and the country has raised the voice in support of Kashmiris on every political and diplomatic forum and it would continue playing this role in future as well,” Mr Hussain said.

Raising the pitch, Mr Hussain accused India of human rights violations in Kashmir and claimed that the words of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the word ‘K’ in Pakistan denotes Kashmir and the country is incomplete without Kashmir.

However, Mr Hussain condemned the terror attack at an IAF base in Pathankot. “Pakistan is against all forms of terrorism. Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including the incident at Pathankot,” he said.

The Pathankot terror attack occurred on January 2 with six terrorists sneaking into the airbase, leading to an encounter in which seven Indian security men, including a Lt Colonel, were killed. The six terrorists were eliminated during the encounter with the security forces in a battle which lasted for four days. The terrorists were believed to be members of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

The visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lahore on December 25 had set the tone for resumption of the comprehensive bilateral dialogue between the two countries. However, the Pathankot terror attacks seem to have dented the optimism centred around the planned resumption of bilateral dialogue between the two countries. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke to Mr Modi on January 5 and promised support to probe the Pathankot attack. There is no clarity at the moment about the Foreign Secretary-level talks, which is scheduled to take place on January 14-15 in Islamabad.

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