Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani has stressed that India cannot deny visas to Pakistani cricket fans as the International Cricket Council (ICC) rules bind the host countries to cater to the demand.
It is pertinent to mention here that a delay in the issuance of visas for the national cricket squad and staff by India had put Pakistan's participation in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 — starting October 5 — in jeopardy as the Men in Green couldn't travel to the neighbouring country until last night.
It also affected the Pakistan team's schedule ahead of the showpiece event as they couldn't gather in Dubai for a "team-bonding trip".
"As per ICC rules, providing visas to the fans is mandatory," the foreign minister made the remark during a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday.
He added that Pakistani fans must get Indian visas and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will take up the matter with the ICC.
Travel between the two arch-rivals is usually an issue for players as well due to the diplomatic tensions between the governments.
Pakistan and India haven't played bilateral series in any format since 2012-13. Pakistan last toured India for the ODI and T20I series.
While answering a question about the progress of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), FM Jilani said that Pakistan has entered the second phase of the mega developmental programme, which is a very transformational and important project for the country.
"There is absolutely no question of it being rolled back," he added.
The second phase of the mega project, the interim foreign minister said, would involve the upgradation of railways and agriculture, technical cooperation, information technology (IT) cooperation and many other areas.
He stressed that "only progress" will be seen in CPEC in days to come.
While talking about the Pakistani delegation's visit to the United States, Jilani said that Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar made a key address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and attended various significant sessions, including a meeting on the epidemic diseases.
The FM said that the caretaker PM also had a busy schedule on his New York visit, during which he presented his stance on the issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
"We told the world clearly about the right of self-determination of Kashmir and human rights violations going on there," he added.
Moving on to the Palestinian conflict, the interim FM said that major human rights violations are taking place in Palestine. "The Palestinian issue should be resolved as per the wish of Palestinian people."
He also said that there is no change in Pakistan's foreign policy as far as Palestine is concerned and the maintains the same position on the matter. "Pakistan will not imitate other countries on Israel but will protect its own interests."
He added, "We want the establishment of a free and independent state of Palestine."
Responding to a question about Afghanistan, the foreign minister said that not only Pakistan but the entire world has concerns about the terrorist attacks that took place in the past few weeks.
He said that the good thing is that there is a dialogue going on with the Taliban government and Islamabad has emphasised that Afghanistan is responsible for stopping the attacks on Pakistan originating from Afghan soil.