Pakistan on Tuesday pressed China to focus on alleged human rights violations in Kashmir as Beijing prepares to play an active diplomatic role in defusing Indo-Pak tensions following last month’s Pulwama terror attack.
At a joint press conference on Tuesday after concluding the first Pakistan-China foreign ministerial dialogue, visiting Pakistani foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the world should make a “new assessment” of the situation in Kashmir, especially after the Pulwama attack.
Mr. Qureshi asserted that he had briefed his Chinese counterpart and state councilor Wang Yi about “the rapidly deteriorating situation on the Indian side of the Kashmir,” especially the “human rights violations” following the Pulwama suicide bombing, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
“This is a concern because that leads to a reaction, and that reaction at times creates tension in the region, which must be avoided,” he said, referring to Islamabad’s position that violence in Kashmir has indigenous roots, and is not the result of cross-border terrorism.
India, on its part has been engaged in lobbying world capitals against radiation of terrorism from Pakistan, especially after the Pakistan based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed took responsibility for the Pulwama attack.
“I think there is a need for a new assessment of how the situation on the Indian side of Kashmir should be handled by the Indians. There are voices within India that are questioning the efficacy of the policy that they [Indians] have followed for the last many years now,” Pakistan’s top diplomat said.
But during the press conference, Mr. Wang made no direct or indirect references to the Kashmir issue, though he praised Pakistan for exercising restraint to de-escalate the post-Pulwama situation.
Instead, the Chinese side reinforced its stated position that Beijing firmly upheld the maintenance of status quo along the borders — a stance it had adopted on February 27, after sections of the establishment in Islamabad raised the alarm apprehending Indian missile strikes on Pakistani targets.
“No matter how things change in the world and the region, China will firmly support Pakistan in upholding its independence and territorial integrity and dignity…,” Mr. Wang said.
“The purpose and principles of the UN charter and international norms must be observed in earnest,” he added.
The Chinese foreign minister stressed that “a peaceful and stable South Asia is in the common interest of regional countries and meets the expectations of the world. China commends the constructive efforts
taken by Pakistan to ease the situation. We call Pakistan and India to exercise restraint and peacefully resolve their differences.”
On the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Mr. Wang said that Beijing and Islamabad will “take strong measures to insure a safe and secure environment for CPEC,” and “step up counterterrorism cooperation”.
Mr. Wang elevated Pakistan’s role in promoting an “Afghan owned and Afghan led inclusive reconciliation process,” and invited the Afghan Taliban to join the talks. “We commend the important role played by Pakistan in this process and its unique role in this process,” the Chinese foreign minister observed.
“Our two sides will strengthen the China Afghanistan Pakistan trilateral foreign ministers dialogue mechanism, fully tap its potential and engage more exchanges and cooperation with Afghanistan,” Mr. Wang said.