ISLAMABAD, Apr 9 (APP):Pakistan on Friday reiterated its call for an independent probe as the Indian security forces continued to kill innocent civilians in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) with seven such extrajudicial killings took place on Thursday.
“The extra-judicial killings by the Indian occupation forces continued unabated during the past week as well. Ten more Kashmiris were martyred in Pulwama and Shopian districts of the IIOJK. Out of these seven were martyred only yesterday,” the Foreign Office spokesperson said in his weekly press briefing.
Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said Pakistan had repeatedly called for independent investigations under international scrutiny, into the extra-judicial killings of all innocent Kashmiris.
Pakistan, he said, had also consistently underscored the need for unhindered access to the United Nations human rights bodies, international human rights organizations and media to assess the human rights situation in the IIOJK.
The spokesperson said Pakistan was concerned over the continuing military siege, incarceration of the Kashmiri leadership and unprecedented restrictions on fundamental freedoms of the Kashmiri people.
He also expressed concern over ongoing efforts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory, in clear violation of international law, in particular the 4th Geneva Convention.
“The international community must take cognizance of the unabated human rights violations in the IIOJK and play its role in resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” the spokesperson urged.
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Apprising the media of Foreign Office activities during the last week, he mentioned the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov from April 6-7, 2021. During the visit, the delegation level talks were held between the two foreign ministers. Sergey Lavrov also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
He said the visit provided both the sides an opportunity to review the whole gamut of bilateral relations and share their respective perspectives on key regional and international issues.
During the delegation-level talks, the two sides agreed on the need to intensify efforts to deepen cooperation in all areas, including economy and trade, energy, counter-terrorism, security and defence, education, and people-to-people exchanges.
During the call on the prime minister, bilateral relations and issues of regional and global importance were discussed.
The prime minister also stressed the importance of a negotiated political settlement in Afghanistan and appreciated Russia’s support in that regard.
With reference to the situation in IIOJK, the prime minister shared Pakistan’s perspective on issues of peace and security in South Asia. He reiterated his invitation to President Putin to visit Pakistan.
The spokesperson told the media that the 10th D-8 Summit was hosted by Bangladesh on March 8, 2021 in a virtual mode.
The prime minister, in his address, underlined the significance of inter-connectedness, partnership, and creating opportunities for around 550 million young people in the D-8 countries.
He also proposed a five-pronged roadmap, including actions to expand intra D-8 trade from currently around US$100 billion to US$ 500 billion by 2030.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressed the 19th Council of Ministers meeting of the D-8 and reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to play an active role in enabling the organization to achieve its full potential.
The spokesperson also mentioned the foreign minister’s meeting with new Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Under Secretary for Political Affairs of Iraq’s Foreign Ministry. An MoU on cooperation between the foreign service academies of Pakistan and Iraq was also signed.
He also mentioned holding of a virtual start-up Summit Thursday titled, “Science & Technology as Catalyst for Entrepreneurship” by the Foreign Ministry and Pakistan’s Embassy in Washington which brought together 120 start-up industry stakeholders from Pakistan and the Pakistani diaspora in the United States.
To a question, he said the Afghan peace process made significant progress last year. “We believe that it is critical that the progress made in the peace process is maintained and further built upon in order to achieve its stated objectives of a peaceful political settlement in Afghanistan. All parties must work together for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.”
As for the withdrawal of the U.S. troops, Pakistan supported ‘orderly’ and ‘responsible’ withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan as “we believe that a precipitous withdrawal would create a vacuum for spoilers”, he added.
Regarding the role of U.S. in talks between Pakistan and India, he reiterated that Pakistan had never shied away from talks and had always underscored the need for a ‘meaningful dialogue’ and peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
“As for the role of third parties including U.S. is concerned, we believe that the international community has an important role to play in averting risks to peace and stability in the region and facilitating a just and lasting solution to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions.”
Regarding the Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails, he said, “We take up these issues on a regular basis with the Indian side through an established mechanism that is in place between the two countries. We continue to underscore the need for a humanitarian approach in handling the prisoners’ issues.”
Responding to another question, the spokesperson said, “We believe durable peace, security and development in the region hinges on peaceful resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute.”
He said India had vitiated the atmosphere, and the onus was on India to create an enabling and conducive environment for talks between the two countries.