Pakistan Man Concocted UN Secretary General's J&K Remark3 August 2010
The Economic Times
New Delhi: It was a day for dealing with fake e-mails for the external affairs ministry. If the one sent by the high commission in London was alleged to have been tampered by someone in the Commonwealth Organising Committee’s office, there was some comfort for the Centre in the second forgery case. It is now believed that the e-mail statement, purportedly written by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, may have been the handiwork of a Pakistani-origin spokesperson. This assumption comes after the UN chief’s controversial remarks on Kashmir was denied by his office. Spokesperson Farhan Haq had e-mailed a statement to journalists at the UN headquarters in New York last week, stating that Mr Ban “is concerned over the prevailing security situation in Kashmir.” Mr Haq went on to say that the Secretary General called on “all concerned to exercise utmost restraint and address problems peacefully.” India promptly took up the matter through its UN mission as the remarks were a departure from norms. According to a statement by the external affairs ministry here on Tuesday, Mr Ban’s office has clarified that no question about Kashmir was raised at any press conference “nor was any such comment made by the UN Secretary General.” This denial also applies to another part of Mr Haq’s statement which talked about the Secretary-General’s backing the resumption of composite dialogue between Indian and Pakistan which New Delhi does not favour unless Islamabad addresses the issue of terrorism. The denial flies in the face of Mr Haq’s statement which said, “he (Mr Ban) encourages both sides to rekindle the spirit of composite dialogue which was initiated in 2004 and had made encouraging progress on some important confidence building measures, and to make renewed efforts to address outstanding issues, including on Jammu and Kashmir.” Meanwhile, Pakistan attempted to fish in India’s troubled Kashmir waters by asking New Delhi to “exercise restraint” in the Valley. In a statement that is certain to anger the leadership here, Pakistan foreign office expressed its “unequivocal solidarity' with Kashmiris. Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who spoke about the “escalation of violence against Kashmiri people,” said his country was “worried over the loss of innocent lives.” The minister also raked up the issue of “self-determination,” saying Islamabad will extend political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people. “Pakistan expresses its unequivocal solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and shall continue to extend its political, moral and diplomatic support to the just cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their right to self-determination,” he said.