- Raghavan says he has not seen any documented evidence of RAW’s involvement in Balochistan and Karachi
- Says India opposing CPEC due to its geo-strategic location and also because it will pass through Azad Kashmir
“I have never seen any documented proof given by Pakistani officials having solid evidence of Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)’s involvement in Balochistan or Karachi,” said Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr TCA Raghavan during an event organised by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) at a local hotel in Lahore on Tuesday.
Dr Raghavan’s address titled “Prospects of Mutual Learning on Governance and Development between Pakistan and India” was followed by a healthy question and answer session in which noted journalists and former diplomats took part.
Addressing the gathering, the Indian HC claimed that Pakistan and India shared language, culture and political structure. Dispelling the impression of his state’s alleged involvement in destabilising Pakistan, he said that it was in India’s interest to have economically developed and peaceful neighbors, including Pakistan.
Citing China-Japan relations, Dr Raghavan proposed that it was possible for countries to move forward despite a bitter past. While praising Pakistan’s Islamabad-Lahore Motorway, he suggested seeking India’s expertise on polio.
Answering former Pakistan interior minister Lt Gen (r) Moeenuddin Haider’s query on India’s opposition of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Dr Raghavan said that India was not against the economic development of Pakistan and his state was only opposing the project due to its geo-strategic location; as it will pass through Azad Kashmir. India has had strong reservations against the Karakorum Highway due to the same reasons, he added.
“Is there any difference between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jamaatud Dawa (JUD), as BJP came into power as a result of Pakistan-bashing campaign?” questioned former bureaucrat Tasneem Noorani.
Substantiating BJP’s existence as a “political party”, Dr Raghavan said that it was a prime minister from BJP, Vajpayee, who came to Lahore by his own will in 1999.
Dr Raghavan, who has a doctorate in modern Indian history, termed PILDAT’s initiatives for improving India-Pakistan ties promising. Highlighting the importance of improving people-to-people contacts, Raghavan reminisced the days when PILDAT team visited India in 2004 and had meetings with parliamentarians.
Dr Raghavan believes that the civil society of both countries can play a positive role in bringing people of India and Pakistan together. “In my view, civil society can’t replace the role of state but it can force any state to take a better step,” he maintained.
Former foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan, former Pakistan HC to India Shahid Malik, renowned lawyer SM Zafar, senior journalists Iftikhar Ahmad, Mujeebur Rehman Shami, Hussain Naqi, Sajjad Mir along with Imtiaz Alam and Ahmad Bilal Mehboob also attended the event.