ISLAMABAD, Dec 20 (APP):The Foreign Office on Thursday said Pakistan’s role in bringing Taliban to negotiating table with the United States was part of its “shared responsibility” for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.“Pakistan remains committed to supporting dialogue process and played a role as part of its ‘shared responsibility’ in the meeting between the US and Taliban held in the United Arab Emirates,” Foreign Office Spokesman Muhammad Faisal said here at a weekly press briefing, at the Foreign Office.
The US and Taliban this week concluded the two-day peace talks in UAE with Pakistan’s efforts to persuade the insurgents to come to the negotiating table.
In response to a question why Pakistan denied in the past of having influence on Taliban, the spokesman said,” Pakistan never said that it has no influence on Taliban, rather it has ‘limited influence’ which it has reflected in the negotiations”.
The spokesman confirmed that the representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs was present in the US-Taliban talks, adding that Pakistan’s role in facilitating the dialogue was “widely recognized and appreciated”.
To a question on India’s decision to convert the Jinnah House in Mumbai into a venue to hold meetings with international delegations, the spokesman said, “Pakistan would not relinquish its longstanding claim of having property rights of the heritage building”.
“We will not accept this move by India to take custody of Jinnah House,” he said, adding that Pakistan had the legal documents as solid testament to its claim.
The spokesman ruled out any plan into consideration regarding the swapping of land with India in exchange of Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan after a resolution passed by the Indian Punjab Assembly seeking exchange of 11,000 acres land for the shrine.
“Absolutely not. This question doesn’t arise,” he categorically said and added that decision for opening of Kartarpur was a gesture for Sikh minority made on their request to provide for a visa-free visit to their holy shrine.
To a question on pro-Khalistan groups becoming active in India, he said Pakistan would not interfere in the internal matters of a sovereign country.
On repatriation of prisoner Hamid Nehal Ansari to India, the spokesman said proper mechanism was followed after Ansari completed his sentence in Pakistani jail on conviction of spying.
He said Pakistan and India were in practice of release and exchange of prisoners every six months in line with the law of land and their mutual agreement on prisoners.
On non-issuance of visa by the Chinese government to their women citizens married to Pakistan men, the spokesman said the matter was being sensationalized by the foreign media by neglecting truth and facts.
According to Chinese authorities, he said, out of 44 Chinese women, six (06) were already in Pakistan, four (04) convicted on various charges, three (03) under investigation, eight (08) undergoing voluntary training, whereas 23 women were free and living in Xinjiang of their own free will.
He said Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chinese authorities would continue to coordinate on this matter and the latter had also offered visits of the families of convicted women to Xinjiang.
The spokesman confirmed that presently, 46 convicted Pakistanis were languishing in Sri Lankan prisons on different charges.
Muhammad Faisal said Pakistan strongly condemned the ongoing horrific bloodshed in Indian Occupied Kashmir and mentioned the killing of 15 men, women and children last Saturday in Srinagar, Sopore and Pulwama.
He said last month, 24 Kashmiris were martyred in the garb of “combating terror” by the Indian authorities.