Thursday, December 15, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday termed India’s hegemonic policies as an “impediment to regional cooperation” and peace in South Asia.
In a weekly press briefing, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that peace in South Asia had become hostage to India’s hegemonic designs that included terrorist activities inside Pakistan and the unabated hostilities carried out in Indian Illegal Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The spokesperson strongly rejected the recent statement of the Indian External Affairs Ministry that raised objection over the visit of Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Hissein Brahim Taha to Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), calling him a “mouthpiece of Pakistan”.
The remarks reflect “callousness and disregard” towards inter-State relations and are against the concept of mutual respect, she stressed.
Instead of criticism, she said, New Delhi should pay heed to the state terrorism in the occupied valley and take steps for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
She said the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was one of the oldest on the UN’s agenda that remained unresolved due to India’s negative approach.
The OIC secretary-general, during his visit to the Line of Control in AJK last week, met the victims of cross-border shelling who shared with him the details of their sufferings.
The spokesperson said the OIC secretary-general’s visit to AJK carried special significance as it came three years after India’s illegal and unilateral actions in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu Kashmir (IIOJK). The OIC head will share his findings in the next Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting.
“The Secretary-General reaffirmed OIC’s commitment and solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and to their right to self-determination in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” she said.
“The international community should join hands to bring an end to the suppression of the people of IIOJK and the violations of their human rights,” she said.
On India’s involvement in terrorist activities inside Pakistan, she said an investigation by law enforcement agencies with the support of international counterparts found concrete evidence that the “masterminds, financiers and the facilitators of Lahore terrorist attack were Indian nationals and were located in India”.
Pakistan has initiated international legal proceedings including Interpol and Mutual Legal Assistance processes to bring those responsible to justice, she added.
In response to relations with Afghanistan in the wake of “unprovoked” cross-border firing in Chaman and the attack on a Pakistan diplomat in Kabul, she said, “Discussions were going on at various levels…We are in contact with the Afghan authorities”.
She said that Chargé d’affaires Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani, who escaped unhurt in the attack, was still in Pakistan and would leave once the consultation process was complete.
She termed the visit of State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar to Kabul “very successful that provided the opportunity to convey Pakistan’s concerns”.
“We hope that the assurances given to us [by the Afghan authorities] will be fulfilled,” she added.
On Pakistan’s climate change situation, she said the international conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan would be held in Geneva on January 9, 2023, and will be co-chaired by the prime minister of Pakistan and the UN secretary-general.
Pakistan, she said, will present the reconstruction, rehabilitation, recovery, and resilience framework (4RF) at the conference. The 4RF document is based on the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), launched on October 28, 2022, which estimated flood damages to exceed $14.9 billion, economic losses over $15.2 billion, and reconstruction needs over $16 billion.
Asked about the suspension of truckloads at the Pakistan-China border, she said the trade activities between the two countries halted as routine for three months due to snowfall.
In response to a question on follow-up on the investigation regarding the killing of prominent journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya, the spokesperson said the matter pertained to the Interior Ministry as appointed the focal body by the government.