US India defence pact should not disturb South Asia’s strategic balance: FO

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Pakistan rejects Indian allegations of involvement in Uri attack

ISLAMABAD, Sep 1 (APP): Pakistan on Thursday said it would
like to see the recent defence deal between the United States and India did not disturb strategic balance of South Asia.

Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said “Pakistan
hoped the set arrangements do not contribute to polarizing the region by disturbing the strategic balance in South Asia and escalating the arms build up”.

The Spokesman at a weekly press briefing said though
the defence pact was an agreement between two sovereign countries, “Pakistan hoped it would contribute to peace and stability in the region”.

On Kashmir dispute, he said Pakistan would continue
to extend support to Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir till “justice is done”.

“We will continue to extend political and diplomatic support
to Kashmiris till justice is done to the people of Kashmir and the brutalities against them are ended,” he said.

The Spokesman said Pakistan’s efforts to highlight the
Kashmir cause was a “matter of commitment” for it.

He mentioned a letter written by Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif to the United Nations Secretary General on Wednesday  in response to his letter acknowledging Pakistan’s commitment to the Kashmir cause.

“The Prime Minister has called upon the UN Secretary
General to send a fact finding mission to Kashmir, stressing
that Azad Kashmir cannot be compared with Indian Occupied
Kashmir, having grim situation of human rights,” he said.

The letter has also pointed that Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi’s remarks on Balochistan are “an attempt to divert international community’s attention from the Kashmir dispute”.

On nomination of 22 parliamentarians by the Prime
Minister to highlight Kashmir issue abroad, the Spokesman said it would be an effective and direct political channel in addition to the already in place efforts of diplomatic envoys.

Zakaria said Pakistan was ready to hold dialogue with
India whenever the latter was ready, however, stressed that Kashmir issue would be part of agenda.

“We cannot accept pre conditions in talks,” he said when
his attention was drawn to the statement of Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj saying that India would not engage with Pakistan in talks unless it hands over those involved in Pathankot incident.

The Spokesman said international community needed to
play its role in resolution of Kashmir dispute, adding that the United Nations had a responsibility upon it to play in this regard.

To a question on India’s decision to replace the use of
pellet shotguns with chilli filled PAVA shells, he said Indian decision was acknowledgement of the heinous crimes being committed against innocent Kashmiris, that killed hunderds and left around 570 with eye injuries.

Updating on situation of stranded Pakistani workers
in Saudi Arabia, the Foreign Office Spokesman said continued efforts were being made for their welfare.

He dismissed the impression that Pakistan government was
not making ample efforts and said “No other country matches with what we are doing for our stranded citizens”.

The Pakistan embassy is doing its best with ensuring
medical treatment and provision of food, and also 200 riyal each person per month where food supply is not possible, he said.

He mentioned that Saudi Labour Ministry had set up
facilitation desks at the factories to assist the workers for filing their financial claims.

Nafees Zakaria made it clear that not a single Pakistani had been expelled on expiration of visa, rather the Saudi government was flexible in allowing them to get another job, if available, other than the worker’s original employer.

He said Pakistani workers were staying on their own wish
in Saudi Arabia, in hope of refund of their dues.

On re opening of Friendship gate at Chaman border, he
said the gate was reopened this morning as Afghanistan expressed condemnation on the 18th August’s incident that saw the Afghan civilians desecrating Pakistani flag and pelting stones at Pakistan side.

The gate has been reopened as a “goodwill gesture” in
appreciation of Afghanistan as the incident was condemned by the Afghan government.

The Spokesman said Pakistan was in favour of
Afghanistan’s political and economic stability and whole
heartedly supported the Afghan led peace process.

He said Pakistan believed that activities of Heart of
Asia and the Quadrilateral Coordination Group would contribute to finding a peaceful solution to Afghan conflict.

When asked on statement of Advisor on Foreign Affairs
Sartaj Aziz saying former ambassador to U.S Hussain Haqqani was lobbying against Pakistan, the Spokesman said “We are mindful of the elements working against Pakistan”.