ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday expressed "grave concern" over reports of violence and burning the Quran in Indian administered Kashmir.
During the weekly press briefing on Friday, the spokesperson said Pakistan hopes the Indian government will carry out the announced inquiries.
“On the reports of desecration of the Holy Quran in the Indian occupied Kashmir, this is a matter of grave concern. It has hurt the feelings of Muslims not only in Pakistan but all over the world. We have noted that Indian government has expressed its intention to carry out an investigation. We hope and urge that the investigation is done expeditiously and those responsible for this act are brought to justice.”
Asked about the Indian response to Pakistan's query over the 2001 Indian parliament and 2008 Mumbai attacks, the foreign office spokesperson said that Indian officer responsible had denied the statement.
"In its preliminary response, the Indian government says that the said Indian former official has denied having made that statement."
The spokesperson though added that the government was still seeking more information.
Despite this, the spokesperson said that Pakistan was keen on the resumption of the composite dialogue with India, and through back channels.
“A number of CBMs (Confidence Building Measures) are in place and need to be implemented. The back channel diplomacy can also contribute to addressing the mistrust. Pakistan also wants the resumption of formal dialogue process with India i.e. Composite Dialogue.”
He hoped that the Judicial Commission’s visit to India regarding the same issue was still under planning.
Aziz's Afghanistan trip pushed forward
The Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has pushed his trip to Afghanistan by a day, and will travel to Kabul on Sunday, the foreign office spokesperson said on Friday.
The foreign office spokesperson informed that Aziz will not be travelling on the previously announced date of July 20, and will now instead make the journey on Sunday, July 21.
Asked why had the schedule changed, the spokesperson explained Sunday was “convenient for both sides.”
He also mentioned that a senior official of the ministry will be accompanying Aziz on the trip.
Detailing the adviser's agenda for the trip, the spokesperson said that he would deliver an official invitation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the Afghan President for a visit to Pakistan.
“The Prime Minister has extended an invitation to the President of Afghanistan to visit Pakistan. Sartaj Aziz will be carrying the formal invitation for the visit.”
Aziz will also be speaking to Afghan officials to set the ground work for an impending summit.
“The other objective of the visit is to hold substantive preparations for the summit-level meeting. We attach high importance to our bilateral relations with Afghanistan, which would be reviewed during the visit.”
The spokesperson added that other topics on agenda include talks over peace and stability in the region and the peace process.
"The regional situation and issues of peace and stability will also be discussed. Pakistan side will reiterate its strong commitment to support the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. Pakistan hopes that the process of reconciliation will catch momentum since this is the best way to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
However, only meeting with senior Afghan officials and the Afghan President were on the agenda, and no meetings with ISAF commanders or the Taliban had be scheduled. As far as the Doha process was concerned, Pakistan “will remain supportive of it as part of the larger reconciliation process in Afghanistan.”
“Pakistan believes that all stakeholders in Afghanistan should engage in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process,” claimed the spokesperson. “The Government of Pakistan will always remain supportive of the efforts for reconciliation out of our conviction that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan will be an effective way to secure lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the whole region.”
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