The UK conveyed to India that it was treating Pakistani Foreign Minister Mr Qureshi’s visit as “private” and did not entertain any official meetings….reports Asian Lite News
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi failed to secure meetings with his British counterpart Jeremy Hunt or senior cabinet member Home Secretary Sajid Javid. The Pakistani minister attended a meeting organised by Pakistani-origin MPs to coincide with Kashmiri Solidarity Day.
Indian officials in Delhi said the move is to attract international attention to a bilateral issue. Cabinet ministers and top officials stayed away from the meeting as 11 British-MPs of Pakistani origin spearheaded the meeting. It was also attended by Slough MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi. Indian media was banned from the meeting.
“The fact that Qureshi did not get a meeting with his counterpart, the British Foreign secretary, speaks for itself that the UK was not keen to give the event or the visit any official legitimacy,” sources told Indian Express in Delhi.
Besides the Pakistani foreign minister, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Labour MP and Oldham MP Debbie Abrahams, Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, Pakistani Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Mushahid Hussain and former prime minister of Norway Kjell Magne Bondevick addressed the meeting.
Sources also said that the Indian side took up the issue quite strongly with the British counterparts. The event was organised by the Pakistani diaspora in the UK. “The event was organised by Pakistan’s diaspora, many of whom are British citizens. Since any British citizen can book a room through their MPs in the British parliament and host an event, this event was organised on the parliament premises,” sources said.
The UK conveyed to India that it was treating Qureshi’s visit as “private” and did not entertain any official meetings. “They had conveyed to us that the UK government would not like to get drawn into what is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. While the Kashmir solidarity day is an annual ritual, the government had made efforts to make them understand that this was anti-India propaganda,” Indian Express reported quoting official sources.
Sources also said that Pakistan’s intention to internationalise the issue of Kashmir on the occasion of the Kashmir solidarity day, which is held every year on February 5, did not bear fruit. “We had told the British counterparts that they should take into account our sensitivities. We can say with some confidence that the events showed that there was acceptance of our position from the British side,” sources said.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs earlier condemned the Pak foreign secretary’s bid to interfere in India’s internal affairs. The High Commissioner of Pakistan was summoned by the Foreign Secretary in New Delhi in connection with the telephone conversation initiated by Mr Qureshi with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from the All Parties Hurriyat Conference.
The Indian Foreign Secretary conveyed the Government of India’s condemnation in the strongest terms of this latest brazen attempt by Pakistan to subvert India’s unity and to violate our sovereignty and territorial integrity, by none other than the Pakistan Foreign Minister.
“Government’s position that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir has been, is and shall remain the integral part of India, and that Pakistan has no locus standi in any matters related to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, has been made clear again to the High Commissioner of Pakistan,” he added.