The Foreign Office (FO) observed on Thursday that India cannot wash away the truth about Kashmir through peddling fake news and running its propaganda machinery faster.
During the weekly press briefing, FO Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said that today (July 3) marks the 332nd day of the continued brutalisation of innocent people of the Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOKJ) - images of which were flashed across the world yesterday, depicting the level of callousness and inhumanity meted out by the Indian occupation forces.
“The heart-wrenching picture of the three-year-old boy in Sopore will forever remain seared in the imagination of all those who believe in humanity, human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the spokesperson stated.
'1,546 ceasefire violations'
She further maintained that ceasefire violations by Indian security forces continue unabated on the Line of Control (LOC).
“As a result of recent violations and mortar and artillery shelling on the LoC in Kayani and Jura sectors of the LoC, on 29th and 30th June 2020, 16-year-old Muhammad Tauheed resident of Talwari village embraced shahadat; and two-yea- old Azad Ahmed, six-year-old Aneesa Waqas, 28- year-old Siraj Din, son of Nizam Din, 16-year-old Sarmad Akram and 42-year-old Abdul Qayyum sustained serious injuries.”
She added that in the first six months of 2020, 1,546 ceasefire violations have occurred, resulting in the martyrdom of 14 and serious injuries to 114 innocent civilians.
Farooqui added that Pakistan had categorically rejected the grant of domicile certificates in IOJ&K by the Indian authorities to reportedly 25,000 Indian nationals.
“The Kashmiri people have also rejected the bogus domicile certificates,” she said, “The certificates issued to non-Kashmiris including, among others, Indian government officials under the “Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure), 2020” are illegal, void and in complete violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and international law including the 4th Geneva Convention.”
She furhter maintained that the latest action is a vindication of Pakistan’s consistent stance that the major intention behind the Indian government’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019 was to change the demographic structure of IOJ&K and turn Kashmiris into a minority in their own land. This has long been part of the RSS-BJP’s “Hindutva” agenda.
Briefing about yesterday's meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, the FO said, “Ambassador Khalilzad’s visit to Pakistan was part of his regular engagement for consultations and exchange of views on the Afghan peace and reconciliation process.”
The foreign minister highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to the US-Taliban direct talks, culminating in the peace agreement of February 29, 2020, and stressed that the Afghan leaders should seize this historic opportunity and work together to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement, the FO spokesperson stated.
“Foreign Minister Qureshi welcomed the latest developments, including announcements on formation of negotiating team and establishment of High Council of National Reconciliation,” Farooqui said, adding that he hopes the release of prisoners would be completed soon to pave the way for the earliest commencement of Intra-Afghan negotiations.
According to the spokesperson, FM Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to continue working with regional and international partners to support efforts for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
"Pakistan remains ready to engage in endeavours to facilitate closer Pakistan-Afghanistan economic partnership and regional connectivity projects," she said.
The meeting between the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood and the US International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler, at the Ministry of Commerce yesterday, would further strengthen efforts in concretising important development projects benefitting both Pakistan and Afghanistan and the region as a whole, the FO maintained.
During his meeting with the foreign minister, Ambassador Khalilzad also expressed condolences on the loss of lives in the terrorist attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi, and extended US' support, she informed.
The foreign minister praised the bravery of the security personnel and thanked Ambassador Khalilzad for the condolences on the terrorist attack, that was externally supported and was another manifestation of the state-sponsored terrorism being perpetrated against Pakistan, "which we condemn in the strongest possible terms," the spokesperson added.
“Pakistan has been consistently sensitizing the international community about the Indian leadership’s threatening statements to use terrorism as a tool to destabilise Pakistan,” Farooqui observed. “Pakistan has already shared with the international community, incriminating evidence about the Indian Intelligence Agency RAW’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan.”
She added that members of the UN Security Council in their statement on Wednesday (July 1) condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly terrorist attack that took place in Karachi, on June 29 , 2020, which resulted in the deaths of several people.
“The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Pakistan,” she said.
“They also underlined the need to bring the perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of Pakistan and all other relevant authorities in this regard,” the FO spokesperson added.
Reptriation of citizens
Separately, the FM also held a telephonic conversation with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy H.E. Josep Borrell, on Wednesday, informed Farooqui.
Both leaders exchanged views on a range of subjects related to Pakistan-EU partnership, including trade, the next phase of GSP Plus, and early operationalisation of the Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP).
“Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our Missions continue to facilitate and assist our fellow compatriots all across the world in order to bring them back to Pakistan safely and in a dignified manner,” she said. “Our Embassies and Consulates are working round the clock in facilitating repatriation of our citizens back home, in accordance with a comprehensive repatriation plan devised in consultation with all stakeholders.”
Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui added that in the past few days, 257 Pakistanis were repatriated from Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore and Brunei; 9,504 from Dubai and Northern Emirates; 1,430 from Jeddah; 25 from Dushanbe and 96 from Kazakhstan.
“So far, 113,154 Pakistani nationals have been repatriated from different parts of the world," she said. “We thank all the governments of these countries for their cooperation in facilitating the repatriation of our nationals.”