FO says India has started arms race in region.



ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan yesterday called for unfreezing Afghanistan’s assets as the war-torn country struggles to recover from the after affects.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed maintained that the need to unfreeze the Afghan assets to be used for the welfare and the benefit of the Afghan people.

He said Pakistan welcomed the initial steps taken by the US Administration in that regard and Islamabad would welcome similar measures in future as well. “The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan needs to be addressed with some sense of urgency. There should be no strings attached towards the unfreezing of the Afghan assets abroad and the Afghan Interim Authorities should be allowed to utilize them for the welfare of the people of Afghanistan,” the spokesperson said.

To a question, Ahmed said India had launched an arms race in the region. “India’s unbridled acquisition of arms over the years has started an arms race and created an imbalance of power in South Asia. Over 70 percent of military capability, the India has acquired so far, is deployed against Pakistan, which is a cause of serious concern for us,” he added. The spokesperson said Pakistan had expressed its concerns at various world forums, including the United Nations.

On Kashmir, he said that Indian police took a political prisoner Mohammad Ali Hussain from Kothbalwal Jail Jammu and brought him at Toph Arnia area and killed him in a staged encounter.

The killing of Mohammad Ali Hussain under mysterious circumstances at a location far away from the prison is yet another sickening chronicle and a dastardly practice of extra-judicial killing of prisoners in fake encounters by the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir, he said.

Ahmed said this was the second such extrajudicial killing of a prisoner – as you would recall Zia Mustafa, from Rawlakot, was taken out of the Kothbalwal jail Jammu and brought to forests in Poonch by the Indian troops and subsequently killed in firing in October 2021.

He said the move reeks of a blatant attempt to undermine the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir and the sinister design of turning the Muslim majority in IIOJK into a minority.

“Since 2019, BJP led government in India has unleashed unspeakable atrocities on the innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir. Over 660 Kashmiris have been martyred by Indian Occupational Forces, including over 145 innocent lives this year alone. These cold blooded, underhanded, and blatantly unlawful acts include a ruthless policy of killing and arresting Kashmiris in fake cases, seizing their properties, and dismissing them from government jobs with a view to suppress the ongoing freedom movement,” he said.

The spokesperson said Pakistan salutes the spirit of the oppressed people of IIOJK and their indomitable quest for the right to self-determination guaranteed to them by the UN Security Council.

He said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will be undertaking a visit to Qatar next week while Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is also visiting four European countries Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.