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Coercive Measures Won’t Work, Says Pak Diplomat on Pakistan Day
“Coercive measures have not worked in the past and they will not work in future,” – that’s how the Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood described the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, speaking at an event on the occasion of Pakistan Day. “Diplomacy and dialogue remain indispensable for enhancing mutual understanding, addressing mutual concerns and resolving long-standing disputes including Jammu and Kashmir,” news agency ANI quoted Mahmood as saying at the event in the national capital. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent him a message on the occasion. "Received msg from PM Modi: "I extend my greetings & best wishes to the people of Pakistan on the National Day of Pakistan. It is time that ppl of Sub-continent work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive & prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence" However, news agency PTI reported that India formally boycotted a reception at the Pakistan High Commission, objecting to invites extended to several separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir for the event. The External Affairs Ministry said no Indian representative will attend similar events in Islamabad as well. Over the years, India´s representation at the annual event has been at the level of a Union minister, PTI reported. “India has decided not to send any representative to attend the Pakistan National Day celebrations today. This decision was taken after the Pakistan High Commission decided to invite representatives of the Hurriyat Conference to the reception," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar earlier said. Pakistan Day is celebrated on 23 March to commemorate the adoption of the first constitution of Pakistan in 1956. Mahmood also expressed hope on the betterment of relations between India and Pakistan. “A relationship based on sovereign equality, mutual respect and mutual interest is the best guarantee for a peaceful and prosperous future. We do hope the long winter in India-Pakistan relations would come to an early end,” he said. One Detained at Event Venue Meanwhile, news agency PTI quoted officials to report the detainment of a Kashmiri activist Mohammed Ahsan Untoo, when he was about to enter Pakistan High Commission. Untoo, who runs an organisation – International Forum of Justice and Human Rights, had been invited among others, including separatists, from the militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir by the High Commission to attend Pakistan Day.

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