ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday summoned India’s high commissioner in Islamabad to protest against the summoning of its top diplomat in New Delhi over a telephonic conversation of foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi with Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Taking strong objection to Qureshi’s phone call to Mirwaiz, India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale had summoned Pakistan’s high commissioner Sohail Mahmood on Wednesday to convey him his country’s reservations. In a statement, Indian external affairs ministry called Qureshi’s telephonic conversation with All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leader a “brazen attempt” to subvert India’s unity and violate its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

On Tuesday, Qureshi, according to Pakistani media reports, had informed the APHC chairman of the upcoming events organised at the House of Commons and an exhibition in London on Feb 4 and 5. Farooq, according to officials here, had said that he wished to attend the events but will not be able to do so given the confiscation of his passport by the Indian government. During their phone call, the foreign minister was of the view that India should permit a Commission of Inquiry to visit Kashmir.

In a tit-for-tat, Pakistan’s foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua summoned India’s high commissioner in Islamabad Ajay Bisaria to the foreign office on Thursday morning to lodge a protest against New Delhi’s move of summoning Pakistan’s high commissioner.

The foreign office (FO) spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said that Pakistan rejects the Indian view that Kashmiri struggle for self-determination is terrorism. “Kashmir is a disputed territory. The Indian government’s move to summon the Pakistani high commissioner is an attempt to influence the upcoming elections. If you wish to contest your elections, don’t involve us in it,” the spokesperson said.

According to Dr Faisal, foreign secretary Janjua made it clear to the Indian diplomat that Pakistan would continue to extend support to the people of Kashmir.

“Pakistani leadership has always communicated with Kashmiri leadershipand Qureshi’s phone call was not anything new,” he said.

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