India Has Been Politicizing SAARC Not Pakistan – Foreign Office

Pakistan has discarded Indian charges of politicising SAARC leaders’ video conference on coronavirus pandemic by calling for an end to communication blockade and lockdown of Kashmir as “misleading and mischievous”.

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In a statement, the Pakistan Foreign Office said that the Indian Ministry of External Affairs attempted to distort comments made by the Minister of State for Health Dr Zafar Mirza at the Covid-19 Video Conference of SAARC member countries on March 15.

Pakistan Foreign Office clarifying the remarks said – of Dr Mirza while participating in the conference, had stated it was a matter of concern that Covid-19 had been reported from Jammu and Kashmir and in view of the health emergency, it was crucial that the blockade must be lifted immediately.

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“Opening up communication and movement would facilitate dissemination of information, allow distribution of medical supplies and allow containment and relief efforts to proceed unimpeded,” he further said.

Earlier, Indian External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Raveesh Kumar said: “We believe that the platform was to bring the countries of the region together to address the pandemic. This was not a political platform, but a humanitarian one and Pakistan misused it.”

The FO statement said that Pakistan was not alone in calling for an end to communication blockade in Jammu and Kashmir. There were various voices from other parts of India and the world too.

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Pakistan, the FO said, participated in the video conference to show solidarity with SAARC members and reaffirm its abiding commitment to the process. The people of South Asia are well aware as to which country has been seeking to “politicise” the SAARC process and continues to obstruct its onward march, the FO statement reminded.