Pakistan is reaching out to sections of the Indian public that are opposed to the Narendra Modi government’s “extremist” policies on the Kashmir dispute, said Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “Our missions abroad, including in New Delhi, are making outreach efforts to emphasise the extremist Indian policies,” Aziz told the Pakistani Senate on Tuesday, according to Dawn.
A new committee has been set up by the Pakistani government to frame a “doable and sustainable India-Kashmir policy”, Aziz said. The committee comprises senior officials from the country’s defence, interior and information ministries, as well as representatives from the Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Operations Directorate and Intelligence Bureau.
The newly-formed body – headed by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry – will counter alleged propaganda by India on the Kashmir dispute and form a media and public relations strategy to highlight the crisis in the Valley, Aziz said. Steps were also being taken to highlight New Delhi’s interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs and its support for alleged human rights violations in Kashmir, the foreign affairs advisor added.
Islamabad was also doing its best to engage with the international community to counter New Delhi’s efforts to diplomatically isolate Pakistan, Aziz said. The country is committed to regional peace and stability, “despite provocative statements by Indian leadership”, he added, alleging that in 2016 alone, India had violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control more than 300.
Relations between the neighbouring countries worsened after the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes along the LoC on September 29. On Tuesday, three Indian Army soldiers were killed by Pakistani commandos in the Machhal area of Jammu and Kashmir, and the body of one of them was mutilated. On Wednesday, Pakistan claimed that Indian troops had targeted a passenger bus and claimed several civilian lives in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Lawat area.