Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) – The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday said India had a track record of impeding the process of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), terming such approach as against the interests of the region’s prosperity and growth.

“Most of the times, it is India that has postponed the SAARC meetings in the past and created hurdles in its smooth functioning,” the Foreign Office spokesman said at a weekly press briefing, in response to India’s decision not to go to the SAARC summit scheduled to be taken in Islamabad in November.

Spokesman Nafees Zakaria when asked whether Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh followed India’s suit in staying away from the SAARC summit, said “all SAARC countries had in fact previously agreed for the venue during last summit”.

The spokesman rebuffed India’s claim that it would isolate Pakistan, saying mere statements of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot isolate Pakistan in the comity of nations.

He mentioned in this regard Pakistan’s engagements on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly, China’s massive investment in Pakistan, joint military exercises with Russia, visit of Iranian naval ship and signing of mega projects with Central Asian states.

“All these happenings make India’s claims a laughing stock,” he said.

Whether Pakistan would look towards other regional bodies after SAARC, he said Pakistan was already members of several regional bodies including Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), and would remain active at these forums.

On situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Zakaria said the toll of innocent Kashmiris martyred by Indian security forces had reached 100 in 83 days, with more than 12,000 injured among whom 800 received eye injuries.

“India has unleashed a rein of terror in the Occupied Kashmir,” he said.

He said Pakistan would continue to highlight Indian atrocities at United Nations, Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and other international organizations.