Says India not cooperating, openly flouting int’l laws; Pakistan committed to peace in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan yesterday said that Kashmir was vital to peace in the sub-continent but India was not cooperating to resolve the issue. Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed said resolution of Kashmir dispute, in line with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, is vital for sustainable peace and development in the South Asia region. “Jammu and Kashmir is a key issue between Pakistan and India, which is a major impediment in the way of developing friendly relationship between the two neighbours,” he said. The spokesperson said Pakistan has been advocating forcefully and consistently for the resolution of this dispute. He said India was not cooperating and is openly flouting the international laws and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. The spokesperson said it was a matter of grave concern that the Indian occupation forces have martyred five more Kashmiri youth in extra-judicial killings and fake encounters in Kulgam and Kupwara areas in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in the past week. “We also continue to draw attention of the international community to the deteriorating situation in held Kashmir , particularly the health of Kashmiri political prisoners including Hurriyet leaders, languishing in different jails of India and in IIOJK and we demand their immediate release,” he added. Ahmed said Pakistan condemns India’s illegal and unprovoked, literally unjustified economic assault on IIOJK manifested by the recent halting of fresh fruit laden trucks from Kashmir valley by Indian occupation forces, this is kind of an undeclared economic blockade of Kashmiri fruit growers . Regarding Pakistan’s role in facilitating peace in Afghanistan, he said Pakistan will continue pursing positive engagements with Afghanistan for peace, prosperity and progress of the two countries and the wider region. He said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, along with foreign minister and cabinet members recently visited New York to attend the high-level segment of the 77th UNGA Session. The prime minister attended several high-level meetings and events, held bilateral meetings with heads of state/ government of key countries, including France, Iran, European Union, Japan, Spain, Austria, Belgium and others, attended a reception hosted by President Biden and met the UN secretary-general, the president of the General Assembly, as well as the managing director of the IMF and president of the World Bank. A key objective of the visit was to highlight the colossal damage caused by the floods in Pakistan. The prime minister drew attention of the international community to this calamity in his address to the UN General Assembly and urged mobilization of resources for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Pakistan. “There were very positive responses from several of the prime minister’s interlocutors including the French president, UN secretary-general, the managing director of IMF, and the president of the World Bank and some other key leaders, including US Special Envoy for Climate Change, John Kerry. They all agreed to help Pakistan mobilize international support,” he added. During his address to the General Assembly and in other interactions, he drew attention to the grave situation in IIOJK and the fact that this dispute was the main source of tension between Pakistan and India, the spokesperson said. To resume a dialogue and ease tensions, India should reverse its illegal and unilateral actions taken since 5 July 2019. On the floods and the ongoing international assistance and relief efforts, he said, “Pakistan is going through transition from rescue and relief phase of response to this unprecedented climate catastrophe, to the more challenging rehabilitation and reconstruction phase that is upcoming.” He further said: “We are also thankful to international friends and partners for sending 133 relief flights, besides ships, trucks, and goodness trains to help the flood victims.” FO spokesperson said Minister of State Hina Rabbani Khar and officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs bade farewell to outgoing Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood. “It was an occasion to pay tribute to his stellar diplomatic career, sagacity, foresight on foreign policy and his humane and humble nature. His leadership and deep sense of commitment to the country are going to be a strong legacy in Foreign Service of Pakistan,” he mentioned.