Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has said that gender remains a cross-cutting theme in all the policies and projects of the government at the federal and provincial levels.
In his message to the public on International Women Day, the minister stressed that the occasion calls to celebrate the progress made in empowering women and reaffirming the collective resolve to redouble efforts in advancing the cause of women.
“Pakistan is proud to have made significant advances in empowering women politically, economically and socially, including through legislative, policy, institutional and administrative measures,” Asif was quoted as saying by the FO spokesperson in his weekly press briefing on Thursday.
“Gender remains a cross-cutting theme in all our policies and projects at federal and provincial levels. Even as much progress has been made, we are mindful of the challenges that exist. We are determined to continue to work towards a more enabling environment for implementation and enforcement of laws, rules and policies,” he added.
The press release also informed the media that Pakistan had summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh to the Foreign Office over the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces along the Line of Control.
According to the FO, Indian aggression using heavy automatic weapons and rockets had resulted in the martyrdom of two civilians, while injuring three others.
Despite calls for restraint, India continues to indulge in ceasefire violations. In 2018, the Indian forces have carried out more than 415 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, resulting in the martyrdom of 20 innocent civilians and injuries to 71 others, the FO states.
FO spokesperson also said that in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK), brutalities and gross human rights violations continue unabated and with impunity.
“Pakistan strongly condemns the brutal killing of innocent Kashmiris. We also condemn the detention, yet again, of Yasin Malik, for leading a peaceful protest on the fateful killings of innocent people in IoK last week,” FO Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal underlined.
Faisal urged the international community to hold India to account for its crimes against humanity in IoK.
The press release also highlights that the foreign minister, after consulting with all the stakeholders, has approved the humanitarian proposals, which had been received from the Indian side, regarding the civilian prisoners incarcerated in both the countries.
Additionally, Khawaja Asif has also extended two more humanitarian requests, subject to approval from Indian authorities, which propose the exchange of prisoners above 60 years of age, as well as the exchange of child prisoners below 18 years of age.
Asif expressed the hope that India would positively reciprocate Pakistan’s proposals, in the spirit that they have been made. He also stated that it was his desire that through such initiatives, Pakistan and India would embark on the road to a comprehensive dialogue, and make a conscious effort to de-escalate the extremely vitiated current environment and the situation on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, the FO briefing outlined.
Faisal also apprised the readers that the 12th Meeting of Pakistan-Russia Consultative Group on Strategic Stability was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad last week.
According to the spokesperson, the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the regional and global developments, including with respect to arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.
“The two sides expressed high degree of satisfaction over their close coordination, cooperation and consultations at various international fora. Both sides agreed on the need to further capitalize on the positive trajectory of the overall bilateral relations by exploring avenues for mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation,” Faisal remarked.
The press release also conveys that seven unidentified dead bodies of Pakistanis, tragically killed in the Libyan boat incident a few weeks ago, have been brought to Pakistan.
FO states that the bodies were stored at PIMS Hospital in Islamabad for necessary DNA verification, and that NADRA proactively identified the particulars of 6 of them, after which they were handed over to their next of kin. The verification process of the remaining body is also underway.