India issues demarche to Pakistan, wants withdrawal of Burhan Wani stamps

0
208

India issues demarche to Pakistan, wants withdrawal of Burhan Wani stampsNEW DELHI: After it called off talks between the foreign ministers, India last week issued a demarche to Pakistan over the issue of commemorative postage stamps glorifying Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani whose killing in 2016 had led to another wave of unrest in the Valley.

Diplomatic sources said Pakistan was asked to immediately withdraw these stamps.

India had mentioned it as one of the reasons for cancelling talks between foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and her counterpart Shah M Qureshi on the sidelines of the UNGA. While the stamps were first issued in July this year, Indian authorities have said that the stamps were re-issued around the time India confirmed the Swaraj-Qureshi meeting after receiving a proposal for the same from Pakistan PM Imran Khan.

India had said the release of 20 postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist had confirmed that Pakistan was not going to mend its ways. India had also blamed brutal killings of Indian security personnel by Pakistan based entities in its statement announcing cancellation of the dialogue 24 hours after it was announced.

India had blamed Pakistan for the killing of a BSF soldier along the international border but Pakistan continues to deny its role in the incident. While it had earlier been reported that the jawan’s body was found mutilated, DG BSF K K Sharma denied this on Friday saying that firing by Pakistan’s Border Action Team had caused his death.

Pakistan though has denied its involvement altogether citing before BSF what it calls circumstantial evidence to claim that the jawan’s death was probably a case of "fratricide".

Pakistan claims to have offered a meeting to BSF between senior officers to cooperate on the issue and locate the exact spot where the incident might have taken place. Accusing India of having rejected its offer, Pakistan has continued to maintain before BSF that it wouldn’t have been possible for anyone to kill an Indian soldier and mutilate his body at a place located just next to a manned Indian bunker.

The incident though is significant for India because, as Sharma had said, this was perhaps the first time that BAT action had taken place along the international border and not LoC. According to Sharma, the jawan had three bullets in his body and also had his throat slit. The rest, he said, was exaggerated.

According to Indian authorities, Pakistani forces had become more aggressive along the international border after Imran Khan became PM. The ugly spat witnessed after the cancellation of the dialogue has ruled out the possibility of any substantive talks between the two countries at least until the elections in India next year.

The engagement will be restricted to addressing humanitarian issues involving fishermen and other prisoners.

Sources here said even after the cancellation of the talks, India last week released 14 Pakistani fishermen.