Pakistan sets up committee to woo PM Modi's political opponents in India

24 November 2016

Pakistan, which has so far focused its nefarious activities to Jammu and Kashmir, is reported to have set up a high-level committee to reach out to opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi en masse across India to seek support for ''a doable and sustainable'' policy to highlight the Kashmir issue globally.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawas Sharief's advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz announced the formation of the committee in the Senate on Wednesday.

The committee will consist of senior officials from the ministries of defence, interior and information, Military Operations Directorate, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB).

The committee will reach out to Indians who are opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ''extremist policies'', according to a report in the Dawn newspaper.

The committee, to be headed by foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry, could co-opt other members if required, Aziz said while speaking about the status of the implementation of policy guidelines.

He said another committee, chaired by the information secretary, has been formed to prepare fact sheets ''to counter India's propaganda campaign and design a media strategy to continuously highlight the Kashmiri freedom struggle''.

This committee also includes representatives from the ministries of defence, foreign affairs and information technology, as well as members of the Military Operations Directorate, ISI and IB. Aziz said that the ministry of information technology has been asked to prepare a comprehensive strategy to highlight the Kashmir issue via social media.

He said that ''steps were being taken to highlight Indian interference in Pakistan's internal affairs, as well as its support for subversive activities and human rights violations in held Kashmir'', the report said.

Aziz said that steps were already being taken to reach out to segments of the Indian public that were opposed to Modi's extremist policies. ''Our missions abroad, including in New Delhi, are making outreach efforts to emphasise the extremist Indian policies,'' he remarked.

On measures to counter India's efforts to isolate Pakistan in the region, Aziz said, Pakistan was doing its utmost to engage the international community, including regional partners.

He said Pakistan was supportive of all initiatives for peace and stability in the region, adding that this commitment to regional peace and stability was evident from the decision to participate in the Heart of Asia ministerial conference in Amritsar, despite the postponement of SAARC summit in Islamabad because of India.

Pakistan's nuclear doctrine, he said, was clearly spelt out and due restraint was being exercised. ''Pakistan continues to exhibit maturity and statesmanship despite provocative statements by Indian leadership and the continued ceasefire violations across the LoC and working boundary having resulted in civilian casualties,'' he said.

He said there was a need for a positive response from India to move forward. While Pakistan always conveyed a desire to resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue, India had chosen to attach conditions to the talks, he said.

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