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Indian role may be raised at UN, says Sartaj Aziz

Indian role may be raised at UN, says Sartaj Aziz

ISLAMABAD: The government is considering to raise at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in September the issue of Indian intelligence agency RAW’s interference in the country.

“As for raising this issue in the United Nations, it is under consideration at the highest level,” the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz informed the National Assembly in a written reply to a question on Friday.

“I think the prime minister is certainly going to use the forum of the UNGA to highlight RAW’s activities in the country,” he said.

Munaza Hassan of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had submitted the question for the foreign ministry: “Whether it is a fact that the government has not raised the issue of RAW’s involvement in the country, especially in Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, with the United Nations Organisation and other international forums?”

The reply submitted during the question hour said that Pakistan had taken up the issue of RAW’s activities with various foreign leaders and with India bilaterally, and has also utilised the media to expose Indian involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan.

The foreign secretary raised the issue with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar during their talks held here on March 3, he added.

While jurists who deal in international law are of the view that the government must take the UN route against India, some close watchers of international diplomacy say Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will think twice before using the forum because it would take the hostility between the two countries to a different level.

“At the foreign ministry level, we have strongly recommended to the Prime Minister’s Office to highlight the matter at the UNGA. Now it depends on the prime minister whether he utilises this option,” an official of the foreign affairs divisions told Dawn. The decision to forward the recommendation was taken after Dr Maleeha Lodhi, the country’s representative to the UN, held in-depth discussions at the Foreign Office recently.

Dr Nafisa Shah of the PPP also sought information about the government’s response to recent hostile statements issued by the Indian prime minister and members of his cabinet.

In a detailed written answer, Mr Aziz informed the house that the government had taken note of provocative statements from the Indian side and responded appropriately.

He said he had expressed serious concern on May 22 over a statement by Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar that India would not desist from supporting terrorist activities inside Pakistan as part of his country’s counter-terrorism policy.

On June 2, the adviser responded to the Indian objection to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The statement also referred to the issue of Kashmir and plight of Kashmiris, the written answer said.

On June 3, the foreign ministry’s spokesperson rebutted an Indian spokesperson’s comments on the elections held in Gilgit-Baltistan, calling it an interference in the internal matters of Pakistan.

During the assembly session, Imran Zafar Leghari of the PPP said the house was being kept in the dark about the fast-unfolding developments in Afghanistan in the wake of reports of Taliban chief Mullah Omar’s death.

Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq asked Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sheikh Aftab to ensure a detailed response from the ministry concerned on Monday.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2015

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