Amidst the tensions prevailing between India and Pakistan, Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit has asserted that Pakistan has nothing to do with the Uri attack and that the country and that the unrest in Kashmir is the root cause of the problem.
In an interview to The Telegraph, Basit ruled out that the two neighbors will go to war.
“We are in a tough place, but we are not thinking in war terms. War is not a solution, war creates more problems. We should not allow war hysteria to dominate our discourse. We have to be mature. We can perhaps afford not to talk to each other for some time, but addressing our many challenges can only happen through dialogue and peaceful means. I hope we are able to retrieve the ground diplomatically. I am a diplomat and an optimist. I hope diplomacy wins,” Basit was quoted as saying.
He also said that if people of Jammu and Kashmir believe that they are happier with India and they belong there, so be it, Pakistan would not have a problem.
“We have no desire to be irredentist (or, advocating claims over territory) in our approach. What we are saying is that the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be given a fair chance to determine their future. To determine their future is their right…. Kashmir is not about territory, it is not a territorial dispute, 12 million people are involved.”
Basit said that Pakistan had no clue whatsoever about who carried out the terror attack in Uri and emphasized that Pakistan did not allow terrorists on its territories.
“We do not know, we do not know. We are committed to not allowing our territory to be used for violence anywhere in the world. This is what I iterated to your foreign secretary when I was called in the other day,” he said.
Basit blamed the plunge in bilateral ties on Kashmiri unrest triggered by the killing of Hizb-ul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.
He claimed that Pakistan had extended all-out cooperation after the Pathankot incident and things were moving in the right direction. Both the countries could prevent the situation from worsening, if that spirit was maintained, he said.
Asked about venomous speeches against India by JuD chief Hafiz Sayeed and Hizb-ul chief Sayeed Salahuddin, the Pakistani diplomat said that similar voices exist in India too. “Our policy is not driven by their fiery speeches and neither is yours, I would like to believe,” he said.
Of reports that Indian security forces had “avenged Uri” in a covert cross-border operation on militant camps, Basit said he was unaware of any such thing. “I do not believe any such thing happened. Let me say here that Pakistan is capable of defending itself, but I wouldn’t like to think things will escalate to that pass.”
On Burhan Wani, Basit emphasised: “To fix everything now on Burhan Wani is of no help. The way Kashmiris came out for his funeral and what has been happening thereafter is serious and spontaneous. You cannot brush Kashmir under the carpet, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have to be given the right to determine their future at some point. We cannot ignore what is happening.”
Basit said diplomacy could not be conducted through verbosity but on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect and understanding.