Pak says In­dia crossed red line on Balochis­tan

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Sukhwant Basra sukhwant.basra@hin­dus­tan­ Rezaul H Laskar let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

Wrestler Sak­shi Ma­lik’s bronze, which ended In­dia’s medal drought at the Rio Olympics, is a tes­ta­ment to her fight­ing spirit as much on the mat as off it.

The 23-year-old is from Ro­htak, which is only 80km from the na­tional cap­i­tal but steeped in ways that made it dif­fi­cult for her to pur­sue a sport re­garded as an ex­clu­sive pre­serve of men.

In the be­gin­ning, her fam­ily didn’t want her to wres­tle and, at one point, the peo­ple in her vil­lage even teased her, say­ing wrestling would give her “cau­li­flower ears” and no one would marry her.

But Sak­shi and ev­ery­one around her were ec­static on Thurs­day af­ter she be­came only the coun­try’s fourth woman Olympic medal­list — three of them in heav­ily phys­i­cal sports. Kar­nam Malleswari (weightlift­ing) and Mary Kom (box­ing) too suc­ceeded in sports that used to be purely male dom­i­nated.

On a day Pak­istan ac­cused In­dia of cross­ing a “red line” by rais­ing al­leged rights abuses in Balochis­tan, New Delhi said it wanted to dis­cuss the va­ca­tion of parts of Jammu and Kash­mir un­der “il­le­gal oc­cu­pa­tion” by Is­lam­abad.

The war of words heated up a day af­ter In­dia said it would take up Pak­istan’s of­fer of talks pro­vided they fo­cus on cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism and not the un­rest in Kash­mir, where more than 60 peo­ple have died in protests af­ter the killing of mil­i­tant com­man­der Burhan Wani.

In­dia re­it­er­ated that for­eign sec­re­tary S Jais­hankar had ac­cepted his Pak­istani coun­ter­part Aizaz Chaudhry’s in­vi­ta­tion to visit Is­lam­abad for talks, which should fo­cus on the “more press­ing as­pects of the Jammu and Kash­mir sit­u­a­tion”.

Th­ese as­pects, ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­istry spokesper­son Vikas Swarup said, in­clude Pak­istan end­ing cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism and “in­cite­ment to vi­o­lence and ter­ror­ism” in Kash­mir, de­tain­ing and prose­cut­ing ter­ror­ist lead­ers who have been active in sup­port­ing such vi­o­lence, clos­ing down ter­ror­ist camps, and deny­ing safe haven, shel­ters and sup­port to ter­ror­ists who have es­caped In­dian law.

The In­dian for­eign sec­re­tary also looks forward to dis­cussing “the ear­li­est pos­si­ble va­ca­tion of Pak­istan’s il­le­gal oc­cu­pa­tion of the In­dian state of Jammu and Kash­mir”, Swarup told a news brief­ing.

Swarup also dis­missed Is­lam­abad’s con­tention that the In­dian premier had crossed a red line as an “ex­tra­or­di­nary re­mark from a se­nior func­tionary of Pak­istan that rec­og­nizes no red lines in its own di­plo­macy”.

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