Reports about IOK ‘not an Ummah issue’ speculative: FO

Published: September 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal on Thursday termed “speculative” media reports claiming that the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), during their recent visit to Pakistan, had told the government that the “Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) situation should not be made an Ummah issue”.

“Instead, the visit of the two foreign ministers affirmed Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s solidarity with Pakistan and also support for the Kashmir cause,” said the spokesperson during the weekly briefing.

The spokesperson announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan would give a “policy statement” regarding the situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir during his visit to Azad Kashmir on Friday (today).

“The policy statement is part of Pakistan’s continued struggle for the Kashmir cause,” said Dr Faisal said, adding that several other steps regarding the IOJK issue were also under consideration and would be shared as the situation unfolded.

The spokesperson said the struggle for Kashmir was a continued process, not an event.

“Our stance is loud and clear that all issues with India, including the Kashmir dispute, can be resolved through dialogue,” he added.

About the composition of 58 countries that joined Pakistan’s call at the United Nations Human Rights Council, he said these mostly included members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and other states that condemned India’s illegal occupation of Kashmir and the continued communications lockdown in the valley.

Regarding any follow up to the mediation offer by US President Donald Trump between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir dispute, he said there were already many offers by several other countries; however, India was not ready to come to the dialogue table.

He said India’s negative response was delaying a solution to the issue, which was creating a humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir.

He said India’s draconian emergency laws in occupied Jammu and Kashmir could not be allowed to stand and called for authorising the office of human rights commissioner and the office of human rights to monitor and report on India’s human rights violations.

He stressed the need that India must allow the international media and human rights organisations to visit Kashmir.

On Pakistan charging $20 fee to the religious tourists of Kartarpur, the spokesperson clarified that it was not an entry fee but service fee meant to share 10 to 15 per cent expenditure of construction and other facilities, including roads, buses, reception centre etc.

To a question on any meeting expected in future between Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav with diplomats from his country, he said, “There is no other meeting.”

Regarding the statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcing post-election plan to annex Jordan Valley, he said, “We reject any such movement which could be illegal and a dangerous escalation.”

Reaffirming solidarity with Palestinians, he said Pakistan called for a viable and independent state of Palestine on the basis of internally agreed parametres of pre-1969 borders with Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital.

With additional input from APP

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