Pakistan warns of fitting response to Indian aggression

New Delhi must answer for ‘state-sponsored espionage’ against Pakistan, says defense minister. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Pakistan warns of fitting response to Indian aggression

ISLAMABAD: “Any Indian aggression, strategic miscalculation, or misadventure… shall be met with an equal and proportionate response,” Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir said on Tuesday.
His Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday blamed Islamabad for Saturday’s attack on an army camp in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed five soldiers and a civilian and wounded nearly a dozen.
The attackers “derived support” from Pakistan, which “would pay for this adventure,” Sitharaman said.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Sunday condemned “India’s smear campaign… and the deliberate creation of war hysteria.”
Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Mohammed Faisal on Tuesday said India’s “tendency of apportioning blame to Pakistan, without a shred of evidence, is regrettable” and carries “no credibility.”
He added: “More deplorable is (India’s) threatening tone (that) further vitiates the already tense environment marked by unprecedented cease-fire violations by India.”
Foreign relations expert Qamar Cheema told Arab News that “the reduced role of the international community on the Kashmir issue” has contributed to a deterioration in Indian-Pakistani relations and a “chaotic” regional situation.
Pakistan’s Defense Ministry vowed to defend the country’s sovereignty, and condemned New Delhi’s “silence” over Indian naval officer Kulbushan Yadev, who was arrested last year by Pakistani security forces on charges of subversive activity.
“Instead of the knee-jerk reaction of blaming Pakistan without substantiation, India must answer for state-sponsored espionage against Pakistan,” said Dastgir.
He accused India of “destabilizing regional peace” and escalating cease-fire violations along the two countries’ disputed border.
Cheema said the impasse “may lead this region to a miscalculation,” and mounting public and media pressure for all-out conflict.


US envoy ‘disappointed’ by collapse of inter-Afghan peace meeting

Updated 19 April 2019
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US envoy ‘disappointed’ by collapse of inter-Afghan peace meeting

  • A 250-strong delegation of Afghan politicians and civil society figures had been due to meet Taliban officials in Doha at the weekend
  • The event was abruptly canceled on Thursday amid arguments over the size and status of the group

KABUL: The US envoy for peace in Afghanistan expressed disappointment on Friday after the collapse of a planned meeting between the Taliban and a group of Afghan politicians in Qatar that exposed some of the deep divisions hampering efforts to end the war.
A 250-strong delegation of Afghan politicians and civil society figures had been due to meet Taliban officials in Doha at the weekend. The event was abruptly canceled on Thursday amid arguments over the size and status of the group, which included some government officials attending in a personal capacity.
“I’m disappointed Qatar’s intra-Afghan initiative has been delayed,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghan reconciliation, said on Twitter. “I urge all sides to seize the moment and put things back on track by agreeing to a participant list that speaks for all Afghans.”
The collapse of the meeting before it had even started, described as a “fiasco” by one senior Western official, laid bare the tensions that have hampered moves toward opening formal peace negotiations.
Khalilzad, a veteran Afghan-born diplomat, has held a series of meetings with Taliban representatives but the insurgents have so far refused to talk to the Western-backed government in Kabul, which they dismiss as a “puppet” regime.
The Doha meeting was intended to prepare the ground for possible future talks by building familiarity among Taliban officials and representatives of the Afghan state created after the US-led campaign that toppled the Taliban government in 2001. A similar encounter was held in Moscow in February.
President Ashraf Ghani’s office blamed Qatari authorities for the cancelation, saying they had authorized a list of participants that differed from the one proposed by Kabul, “which meant disrespect for the national will of the Afghans.”
“This act is not acceptable for the people of Afghanistan,” it said in a statement on Friday.
Sultan Barakat, director of the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies in Qatar, which had been facilitating the meeting, said there was no disagreement about the agenda.
“Rather, there is insufficient agreement around participation and representation to enable the conference to be a success,” he tweeted.
Preparations had already been undermined by disagreements on the government side about who should attend, as well as by suspicions among rival politicians ahead of presidential elections scheduled for September.
The Taliban derided the agreed list of 250 participants as a “wedding party.” Some senior opposition figures who had been included refused to attend.
The Taliban also objected to Ghani’s comments to a meeting of delegates that they would be representing the Afghan nation and the Afghan government, a statement that went against the insurgents’ refusal to deal with the Kabul administration.