Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi today slammed Pakistan for raising the Kashmir issue at an international forum

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In her statement at the 6th summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia CICA at Astana in Kazakhstan today, Ms Lekhi said that it is unfortunate that Pakistan has chosen to once again misuse the CICA platform to propagate false and malicious propaganda against India and distract from the theme and focus of today’s discussions and cooperation among Member States.

In her statement, Ms Lekhi said, the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been and will remain an integral part of India. She said, Pakistan has no locus standi to comment on India’s internal affairs.

The Minister said, Pakistan’s remarks today constitute gross interference in India’s internal affairs, sovereignty and territorial integrity which is inconsistent with the CICA Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations between the CICA Member States of September 1999.

Ms Lekhi said, Pakistan is the global epicentre of terrorism and continues to be the source of terrorist activities including in India. She said, Pakistan continues to make no investment in human development but provides their resources for creating and sustaining infrastructure of terrorism.

The Minister of State for External Affairs said, Pakistan must immediately cease anti-India cross-border terrorism and shut down its infrastructure of terrorism.

She said, it will do well to stop the grave and persistent human rights violations in Pakistan occupied Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh PoJKL, refrain from effecting any further material changes in the status of PoJKL and vacate the Indian territories that are under its illegal and forcible occupation.

Ms Lekhi said, with its own record of the dismal treatment of minority communities, Pakistan would be well advised to set its house in order instead of lecturing the world community. She said, this is a country where religious and ethnic minorities are systematically persecuted.

The Minister said, the frequent instances of attack and vandalism on the places of worship of minority communities in Pakistan and the countless cases of abduction, forced conversion and marriage of minor girls from minority communities in Pakistan are evidence of the vulnerable status of minorities in this country.

Ms Lekhi said, India desire normal relations with all its neighbours, including Pakistan. She said, Pakistan is thereby advised to walk the talk by creating a conducive atmosphere, including by taking credible, verifiable and irreversible actions to not allow any territory under its control to be used for cross border terrorism against India in any manner.

The Minister said, this will enable the two countries to engage and address issues bilaterally rather than distract this important international forum from its agenda of cooperation.

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