Pakistan deeply disappointed by Indian rhetoric: FM Hina
16 January, 2013
NEW YORK: Terming Indian statements in the wake of renewed Kashmir tensions "extremely contradictory", Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said that Pakistan has been "deeply disappointed" by New Delhi's rhetoric but remains committed to pursuing the peace process.
Contrasting with Indian "inflammatory" rhetoric, Pakistan, on the other hand conducted itself responsibly in the face of loss of its two soldiers in Indian attacks, she told CBS News in an interview.
The democratic government in Islamabad pursued peace and normalisation of trade with India at great political risk to it, she pointed out. "At the near end of our tenure, I am deeply disappointed. But we are as deeply committed to a peace process with India, as we are deeply disappointed. And we will continue to tread on that and we would encourage people from the other side to be careful."
She said the Indian forces crossed the Line of Control and moved 400 metres inside Pakistan's territory to kill its soldier. Pakistan, she said, looked into the India allegation of firing from the Pakistani side but found no evidence and, therefore, proposed a tripartite investigation involving UN-administered inquiry.
"At the same time, the type of statements that came in from the Indian side were nothing less than highly inflammatory, it was upping the ante, typical hostile narrative mode that these two countries have done for the last 60 years – very disappointing."
Pakistan, she emphasised, conducted itself responsibly. "We had responsible people, talking about a proportionate response being given."
Unfortunately, she added, the statements that emanated from "very responsible Indian people" were "hostile, recriminatory, accusatory and exceptionally military-minded."
"It seems it has become a domestic politics issue (in India)." The hostility between the two nations hurts more than just their economies. Pakistan's foreign policy is not which is hostile to India, the foreign minister said. "This hostility that we have had for the last 60 years has held the entire region back. It is has held progress on SAARC back. "
"It's almost crazy - the level of rhetoric is un-understandable and preposterous and we hope better sense will prevail and we hope that the maturity that we have demonstrated in the last four years will come back and open our door again," she said.
"I am very proud of the way Pakistan has handled this. I am very proud of how our media has handled it. I am even more proud on how our political leadership has handled to it because I think what they have shown is their deep abiding commitment to a peace process with India, to normalising relations with India."
Meanwhile, Hina Khar termed the continued US drone attacks in the Tribal Areas counter-productive, as they make the fight against terror appear as America's war enforced on Pakistan.
The foreign minister noted that the drone attacks give an ideological space to violent people and cause civilian casualties.
"They have no legality, they are completely unlawful, and we also believe on top of everything else, they are counter-productive," she said when asked about the drone strikes that the United States says it carries out against suspected militant targets on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border.
No business as usual with Pakistan: Manmohan
India's prime minister said on Tuesday there could be no "business as usual" with Pakistan after a deadly flare-up in Kashmir, as New Delhi halted a new visa programme and the fallout hit sports events.
While diplomats have warned against allowing four recent cross-border killings to wreck a fragile peace process, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the alleged beheading of an Indian soldier on January 8 "unacceptable".
"It cannot be business as usual" with Pakistan, Singh said in his first public reaction to the attack, which has caused outrage in the army's ranks.
"What has happened is unacceptable," the premier added on the sidelines of an army function in New Delhi. "Those responsible for this crime will have to be brought to book."
India alleged that two of its soldiers were killed by the Pakistan Army on January 8. Pakistan denies that its forces were responsible for the killings and says that two of its own soldiers have died as a result of Indian firing.
India's foreign minister reflected a growing sense of frustration in New Delhi on Tuesday at Islamabad's denial of responsibility, saying it only served to destabilise peace efforts.
"Such actions by the Pakistani Army ... not only constitute a great provocation but leave us to draw appropriate conclusions about Pakistan's seriousness in pursuing normalisation of relations with India," FM Salman Khurshid told a news conference.
India's chief military commander in Kashmir also cranked up pressure on Pakistan, saying a meeting on the border on Monday between the two militaries to calm tensions was fruitless.
"We accused them of carrying out the barbaric attack... we insisted that the head be returned," Lieutenant General KT Parnaik said in Akhnoor.
The deadly exchanges erupted on January 6 along the militarised de facto border in Kashmir known as the Line of Control.
After a total break in ties following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, relations had been slowly improving. Recent talks had focused on opening up trade and offering more lenient visa regimes.
On Tuesday, India was meant to begin allowing Pakistanis over the age of 65 to obtain a visa on arrival at the border in Punjab.
However, the programme was put on hold until further notice only hours after Indian officials said it had come into force, although the delay was attributed to "technical" reasons.
"Couple of points have to be ironed out on that. There are technical issues, documents required. We will iron it out after consultation with other agencies," Home Secretary RK Singh told reporters.
The visa deal was sealed last month when the interior ministers from both countries met in New Delhi.
Nine Pakistani players were also withdrawn from a new field hockey league in India and asked to return home just before Singh's comments.
Media reports on Tuesday also said the women's cricket World Cup, scheduled to be played in Mumbai from January 31 to February 17, could be affected due to Pakistan's participation.
The Indian Express newspaper quoted sources as saying Pakistan's matches could be moved to Ahmedabad.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said it had written to the International Cricket Council, asking it to ensure the safety of their women's team.