Spokesperson says South Asia cannot afford another arms race, as she expresses concern of Washington selling air defense system to Delhi
Pakistan fears India may initiate an “irresponsible action” to detract from the visits to Islamabad of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said on Thursday.
Addressing the media during her weekly press briefing, the spokesperson said Pakistan was ready to “respond effectively” to any actions taken by the Indian government in the coming days. She noted that Turkey supports Pakistan’s principled stance on self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The Turkish president’s visit would serve to further expand the bilateral ties between Islamabad and Ankara, she added.
Farooqui also told journalists that the U.N. chief would visit Lahore and the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in addition to attending the Pakistan-hosted meeting on Afghan refugees.
Apprising the press about India’s ongoing lockdown of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooqui said it had now lasted for 193 days. “Kashmiris are being deprived of their human rights,” she said, adding that millions have been silenced by the communications blockade, depriving them of the freedom of speech. “India has turned occupied Kashmir into the world’s biggest prison,” she reiterated, adding that Pakistan has informed the world of India’s plans to carry out a false flag operation to divert the world’s attention from its domestic concerns.
During the briefing, Farooqui said Islamabad was concerned over Washington’s approval of the sale of an air defense system to New Delhi. She noted that Pakistan believed South Asia could not afford another arms race.
Indian media on Tuesday reported that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration had approved the sale of an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System to India for $1.8 billion. The sale still awaits approval by the U.S. Congress. According to the State Department, Congress has been informed that New Delhi plans to use the “defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces, and to expand its existing air defense architecture to counter threats posed by air attack.”