Durable peace in region hinges on resolution of Kashmir dispute: FO

Pakistan never shied away from talks with India, says spokesperson Zahid Chaudhri


APP April 16, 2021
FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri. PHOTO: MOFA/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan has said it believes that durable peace, security and development in the region hinge on peaceful resolution of the long-standing Kashmir dispute.

“We, therefore, believe that the two sides [India and Pakistan] need to discuss all outstanding issues including [Indian Illegally Occupied] Jammu and Kashmir with a view to seek peaceful resolution of this long outstanding dispute as per international legitimacy,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said in response to a question during the weekly press briefing.

The spokesperson said that Pakistan had never shied away from talks with India and always underscored the need for a ‘meaningful dialogue’ and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. “Therefore, Kashmir remains central to any meaningful engagement between India and Pakistan.”

He said that New Delhi had vitiated the environment through its illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019 when it abrogated the semi-autonomous of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

“The onus is, therefore, on India to create an enabling and conducive environment for a meaningful and result-oriented dialogue between the two countries.”

Chaudhri said Pakistan believed that the international community including the Muslim world must use all tools at its disposal to urge India to rescind its illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019 and end its human rights violations in IIOJK.

Also read: 14-year-old among 12 freedom fighters martyred in last 72 hours in IIOJK

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has passed multiple resolutions condemning India on its human rights violations in IIOJK and calling for the just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions, he mentioned.

To another question, the FO spokesperson said that Pakistan had not entered into any bilateral procurement agreement for Covid-19 vaccine from India.

In response to a question, he described as “unfortunate” the false spin by Indian media or any official statement alleging that Sikh Yatrees [pilgrims] were stranded in Pakistan.

“Pakistan remains committed to facilitating Sikhs from around the world, including from India, for visiting their religious sites.”

To a question regarding attack on Iran’s nuclear site, Chaudhri said Pakistan had a principled position on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The return of the parties to the negotiating table is a welcome development. Any efforts to sabotage the Vienna talks need to be discouraged,” he maintained.

Responding to a query about the report of US National Intelligence Council regarding the possibility of war between Pakistan and India in the next 5 years, the spokesperson said: “Pakistan is a peace loving country. We continue to promote peace, security and stability in the region for the prosperity of our own country and of the South Asian region on the whole.”

He recalled the speech of Prime Minister Imran Khan in which he had stated that “if India takes one step forward for peace, Pakistan will take two”.

“Our desire for peace was also manifested when we released the captured Indian pilot as a gesture of peace after the Balakot misadventure by India,” he added.

“On its part Pakistan remains committed to regional peace and stability and at the same time remains resolutely resolved to defend itself against any misadventure,” the Chaudhri stressed.

To a question about the appointment of lawyer in Kulbhushan Jadhav case, he said, “We once again urge India to cooperate with the Pakistani courts by inter-alia appointing a lawyer in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case so that full effect could be given to the ICJ [International Court of Justice] judgement in the case.”

About the recent US announcement to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, he said Pakistan has been consistently supporting and facilitating the efforts for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“We believe there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and a negotiated political solution through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process is important for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

Also read: India calls for immediate ceasefire in Afghanistan

“Towards this end, the US-Taliban Agreement of 29 February 2020 laid foundation for a comprehensive intra-Afghan peace agreement including a permanent ceasefire for bringing an end to violence in Afghanistan,” he added.

The spokesperson, however, said that in Pakistan’s view, it was important that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan coincides with the progress in the peace process.

“We hope that the forthcoming meeting of Afghan leadership in Turkey would be an important opportunity for Afghans to make progress towards a negotiated political settlement. In this regard, we support the principle of responsible troop withdrawal in coordination with Afghan stake-holders. We also hope the US will continue to urge the Afghan leaders to seize this historic opportunity for achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan,” he added.

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