Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the Indian government was attempting to divert the world’s attention from its border dispute with China to Pakistan, as diplomatic tensions rose between the two countries.
The foreign minister spoke about India’s move to tell Pakistan’s diplomatic staff in New Delhi to slash its presence by 50% on charges they had violated the Vienna Convention.
“India’s mood is clear [for all to see] as it wants to divert attention from its border dispute with China to Pakistan,” said the foreign minister, adding that India was finding excuses to launch a false flag operation against Pakistan.
“The opposition in India is raising questions that their government can’t answer,” he said, referring to the criticism being faced by the Modi government regarding its response to the border dispute with China in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
Stating that India had posed baseless allegations against Pakistani diplomats of spying in New Delhi, Qureshi said that the Pakistani staff was harassed in India and their cars were followed by authorities.
He said that Pakistan had not only condemned the allegations but also rejected them. The foreign minister added that the Indian Chargé d’ Affaires in Islamabad was summoned and told that the same treatment would be meted out to the Indian staff.
“We told him [Indian Chargé d’ Affaires] that because of this unilateral policy, you also wrap up and slash your [diplomatic staff] presence by 50%,” noted FM Qureshi.
In response to a question about a recent cabinet meeting where, according to sources, PM Imran told ministers they had till six months to perform, the foreign minister refused to divulge any information.
“To discuss internal discussions of the cabinet on media would be unreasonable and I will not do that,” said Qureshi. “Everything has its own forum. The affairs of the party are discussed in the core committee and party meetings. The affairs of the cabinet are discussed in cabinet meetings, I will have to excuse myself,” he added.
Pakistan asked to cut embassy staff by half
On Tuesday, India had told Pakistan to slash its embassy staff in New Delhi by half — saying it would do the same in Islamabad.
“The behaviour of Pakistan and its officials is not in conformity with the Vienna Convention and bilateral agreements on the treatment of diplomatic and consular officials,” the Indian MEA had said in a statement.
“Therefore, the government of India has taken the decision to reduce the staff strength in the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi by 50%.”