Pakistan Minister Noorul Haq Qadri’s Attendance of DPC Forecloses India Talks Options
MEMRI quoting Pakistan media sources reported that on September 30, 2018, Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri attended a so called all-parties conference organized by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (“Defense of Pakistan Council,” DPC), a conglomerate of radical religious groups and jihadi organizations.
DPC is an extremist religious conservative organization that promotes terrorism and incldes the father of the Afghan Taliban Maulana Samiul Haq as the chair and UN banned terrorist leader and India baiter Hafeez Saeed as one of the key members. DPC supports the ideology of violent extremism.
Pakistan’s foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi questioned in the United States of presence of the Minister at the DPC stated that he should have exercised greater discretion
Minister Qadri on the other hand indicated that he was attending as directed by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Importantly MEMRI reports that declaration adopted by the radical leaders of the DPC demanded that “the Indian terrorism in Kashmir be investigated by an international war crimes tribunal,” and that “India be declared a terrorist country.”
Religious and Kashmiri leaders, who spoke on the occasion are also reported to have said: “Pakistan has not made a nuclear bomb to keep as a decoration in an almirah [cupboard],” as per MEMRI quoting Pakistan media sources.
There was much consternation in some circles in India over cancellation of foreign ministers talks by India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in the third week of September particularly so as the change occurred within 24 hours.
In the Weekly Media Briefing Indian Ministry of External Affairs Official Spokesperson Mr Raveesh Kumar said on September 20, 2018, “I can confirm that on the request of the Pakistani side a meeting between External Affairs Minister and Pakistani Foreign Minister will take place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly at a mutually convenient date and time”.
On the same day Mr Raveesh Kumar in an official statement indicated that, “In view of the changed situation, there will be no meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan in New York”.
The apparent flip flop within 24 hours naturally took those who do not follow the trajectory of India Pakistan relations closely by surprise, to the experts and analysts it appeared business as usual
It is now evident that with the federal minister in Pakistan attending the DPC meet where fulminations on India and Kashmir including nuclear option were discussed, the possibility of engagement is foreclosed.
Another challenge is Pakistan having closed the office of the National Security Adviser, with Foreign Minister Qureshi now controlling foreign policy. Qureshi does not enjoy confidence of the policy makers in India given his past India baiting.