NEW DELHI: Ahead of the visit to Jammu and Kashmir by foreign envoys, while India refrained from responding officially to Pakistan’s statement that the Indian government was trying to mislead the international community by organising the visit, government sources reiterated Pakistan had no locus standi on issues related to the union territory.
According to senior officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, one of the main purposes of the visit is to counter Pakistan’s claims about alleged human rights violations and unrest in the Valley.
Government officials are expected to familiarise the envoys, several of them from EU countries, with development work said to be underway currently in the union territory and also to highlight the turnout in recent DDC elections during the visit as a sign of people’s faith in the democratic process. The 20-member delegation will include EU ambassador to India Ugo Astuto and also French ambassador Emmanuel Lenain.
Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had only last month briefed European envoys about the situation in J&K and sought their held in ending Indian “brutalities”. He had followed it up with a letter to the UN on “Kashmir Solidarity Day” alleging the same. In a statement on the envoy visit, the Pakistan foreign ministry said Monday that such “guided tours” are a smokescreen intended to divert international attention from India’s “egregious human rights violations”. ToI had first reported on February 14 that India had organised a visit by foreign envoys to Jammu and Kashmir.
In the middle of statements recently by both Pakistan PM Imran Khan and army chief Qamar Bajwa purporting to show a desire to improve ties with India, Islamabad has continued with its, according to Indian authorities, frivolous attempts to corner India on international fora for its alleged “terror and subversive” campaign against Pakistan.
Official sources say Pakistan’s campaign is meant to deflect attention from its continued support to cross-border terrorism in complete disregard for sentiments expressed by the international community. India has so far also been cold to the peace overtures from Pakistan saying that Islamabad first has to create the right conditions by acting against terror groups looking to target India from its soil.
This will also be the third such visit by foreign envoys to Jammu and Kashmir since India revoked the special status of the erstwhile state and will follow the recent restoration of 4G mobile internet services there.
An agency report Tuesday quoted local officials as saying strengthening of democratic institutions at the grass-roots level would be highlighted before the envoys and that during a presentation the envoys would be shown how panchayats have been empowered by giving them financial powers.