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Pakistan will attend Heart of Asia conference in India: Sartaj Aziz

Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday confirmed that Pakistan will be attending the upcoming Heart of Asia conference scheduled to be held in India.

Aziz confirmed Pakistan’s participation while talking to journalists in the federal capital.

The Heart of Asia conference will be held during the first week of December in Amritsar, India.

“We have started an effective campaign for the cause of self-determination of Kashmiri people,” said the foreign affairs adviser.

Aziz added that 56 countries condemned India’s heavy handed tactics in India-held Kashmir during a conference in Tashkent last week.

In comparison, India had pulled out of the Saarc summit in Islamabad which was scheduled to be held in November.

The announcement came amid growing tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours following the attack on an Indian army base in held Kashmir.

The Foreign Office, in its response after India’s withdrawal from the Saarc summit, termed the Indian announcement as unfortunate in an official statement released.

Soaring tensions

The Indian prime minister stepped up a drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after the Uri army base attack.

Hours after the attack occurred, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed Pakistan a ‘terrorist state’. India also accused Pakistan of involvement in the attack.

The Uri attack occurred days before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was set to address the United Nations General Assembly regarding Indian human rights violations in held Kashmir.

Following the attack, India claimed to have conducted a cross-border ‘surgical strike’ against ‘launch pads of terror’ in Azad Jammu and Kashmir ─ a claim Pakistan has strongly rejected.

Pakistan maintains India is attempting to divert the world’s attention away from ‘atrocities’ committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.

Pakistan and India have locked horns over the Kashmir issue since Indian forces stepped up a crackdown against protesters after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by government forces in July.

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