Pakistan News

 
 
The Indian government has formally submitted a request for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use Pakistani airspace for his flight to the United States, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday. — AFP/File
The Indian government has formally submitted a request for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use Pakistani airspace for his flight to the United States, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday. — AFP/File

The government on Wednesday announced its decision not to grant India's request for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use Pakistani airspace for his flight to Germany.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the decision has been made "keeping in view the situation in occupied Kashmir".

"A request was received from India saying that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to use Pakistani airspace for an overflight on the 20th to Germany and wishes to use the same for a return flight on the 28th," said the foreign minister in a video statement.

"Keeping in view the situation in occupied Kashmir and India's attitude witnessed in the tyranny and oppression [suffered by Kashmiris] and the violations of rights in the region, we have decided not to grant this request," he said.

 

 

The Indian government had formally submitted a request last week for the use of Pakistani airspace following which Pakistan looked into calling a high-level advisory meeting on the matter, according to diplomatic sources.

The sources had told DawnNewsTV that Modi's flight would pass over Pakistani airspace on September 20 on his way to the US where he will attend the United Nations General Assembly and address a gathering of Indian-Americans in Houston.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will also address the UNGA on September 27.

As per international law, the sources had said, Pakistan is bound to grant permission to the Indian premier. If it is rejected, India can appeal to the International Civil Aviation Organisation as a result of which Pakistan may be required to pay a hefty fine.

The request comes at a time of high tension between Pakistan and India following the Indian government's decision to unilaterally revoke Article 370 of its constitution, which granted special autonomy to occupied Kashmir. A communications blackout and heavy restrictions on movement imposed by the Indian authorities from the eve of this development have been in place for 45 days now.

Earlier in September, Pakistan had decided to refuse a request by India to allow its president Ram Nath Kovind to use Pakistani airspace for his flight to Iceland.

The government had also considered closing the entire Pakistani airspace to Indian flights. However, no decision was taken on the matter.

In February, Pakistan had closed its airspace to Indian traffic after aerial dogfights following the Pulwama attack ratcheted up tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi. It reopened its skies for all civilian traffic in July, ending months of restrictions affecting major international routes.

Following this, in August, Modi used Pakistan's airspace to travel to France for an official visit.

Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurates the 24/7 Torkhan border crossing on Wednesday. — Photo courtesy PTI Twitter/File

PESHAWAR: Pledging to present the “Kashmir case” at the United Nations General Assembly “like no one ever did before”, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said there was no use talking to India unless it lifted curfew and restored the special status of held Kashmir.

“To India’s misfortune, it has been taken over by extremist and racist Hindus. Only a person with an extremist mindset would do what they have done in Kashmir by keeping it under curfew for 45 days,” he said at a presser after inaugurating the Integrated Transit Trade Management System at the Pak-Afghan border.

Torkham, located 55km northwest of here, serves as one of the major border crossings with Afghanistan. The new management system has allowed for round-the-clock trade and immigration facilities at the border crossing.

“I consider this to be a very historic day,” said Mr Khan, who was the first elected prime minister ever to visit the border crossing at Torkham.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi accompanied the prime minister. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and Governor Shah Farman received PM Khan at the helipad in Torkham.

The Governor of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, Hayatullah Hayat, had driven to Torkham on special invitation to attend the ceremony.

Imran says those wanting to go and fight in occupied valley will do great injustice to Kashmiris; Trump will be asked to resume Afghan peace talks

Prime Minister Khan came down hard on the Indian leadership, whose RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) ideology, he said, had led them to hate Muslims and Pakistan. “Their entire policy towards Pakistan is a policy of hatred. This is the RSS policy of hatred towards Muslims. So unless they lift curfew in held Kashmir and rescind the revocation of Article 370, there is no chance of negotiations [with India],” he declared.

Mr Khan is due to address the 74th session of the UN General Assembly later this month.

When a reporter pointedly asked if Pakistan would permit those eager to fight for the Kashmiris, the prime minister said anyone wanting to go and fight in India-held Kashmir would do a great injustice to the Kashmiris by undermining their legitimate cause. “Anyone from Pakistan wanting to fight in Kashmir or go for jihad in Kashmir would do the greatest injustice to the Kashmiris. Such an act would be an act of animosity towards the Kashmiris,” he emphasised.

He said that India, while keeping 900,000 troops in Kashmir, had always been blaming Pakistan for instability in the held territory. “Anyone going from here will give them the pretext to blame Pakistan for cross-border terrorism and infiltrating terrorists,” he said.

Mr Khan said India had accused Pakistan of cross-border terrorism. “The entire world’s attention was drawn towards us, Pakistan,” he said. “Now India is stuck,” he said while referring to international concerns over the state of affairs in the held valley. “And the pressure is building up day by day,” he added.

“Now this is what I am going to say. Anyone making any such attempt [to cross over into Kashmir to fight] would be an enemy of Pakistan as well as an enemy of Kashmiris,” he asserted.

US-Taliban talks

Prime Minister Khan said Pakistan did all that was in its power to facilitate talks between the United States and the Afghan Taliban. “We arranged for the meetings and facilitated the travel of Afghan Taliban to Qatar. Even the Americans acknowledge this. We went to the extent of not participating in the peace talks. We didn’t participate in the talks. Had we known there was some problem, we would have made more efforts,” he added.

“You are right,” PM Khan said when this reporter asked if he too was taken by surprise by US President Donald Trump’s sudden cancellation of peace talks with the Taliban. “We read about the breakdown in talks in newspapers,” he said.

“This is very tragic. They were close to signing a peace agreement,” Mr Khan said, adding: “I have a meeting with President Trump in New York on Monday and would insist that peace dialogue resume.”

The prime minister said peace in Afghanistan was important for Pakistan, adding that Islamabad had tried to convince the Taliban to sit down with the Afghan government and conclude a peace agreement ahead of the elections. He said peace in Afghanistan would open up trade with Central Asian republics which were more than keen to expand trade ties with Pakistan through the Gwadar port.

Mr Khan noted that with the opening of 24/7 trade services at Torkham, trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan had shown 50 per cent increase over the last few days. “But this is nothing compared with the potential of trade with the Central Asian republics. Peace in Afghanistan will transform the entire region,” he said.

Ghotki incident

The prime minister condemned in the strongest terms acts of vandalism against Hindus in Ghotki and said such acts were against the Constitution, the vision of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the spirit of Islam which considered minorities as equal citizens. “This is a conspiracy to undermine my visit to the UNGA. This has been done deliberately to sabotage [my address],” he added.

The prime minister accused the opposition of pursuing a one-point agenda of seeking an NRO [deal] and said that the NRO given by former military dictator Gen Musharraf to the leaders of opposition parties had only harmed the country and added more debt to the national exchequer. “I want to make it clear before the entire nation that no matter what happens, we will not give an NRO to anyone,” the prime minister declared.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan, accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, will visit Saudi Arabia on September 19.

Qureshi, while addressing the All Parties Kashmir Conference organised by PTI Punjab in Lahore, said: "We have important sittings over there. Keeping those sittings at the forefront, we will have to deliberate on further measures."

"I think it is enough to say just this right now," the foreign minister added.

Earlier in the day, Radio Pakistan reported that the premier spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the telephone, and discussed bilateral and regional matters, specifically focusing on the attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Imran expressed Pakistan's support for Saudi Arabia and "its full stand with all its potentials in confronting these sabotage acts which threaten the global economy and the kingdom's security".

The attack on plants in the heartland of Saudi Arabia's oil industry, including the world's biggest petroleum-processing facility at Abqaiq, came from the direction of Iran, and cruise missiles may have been used, according to a senior US official. Initial reports indicated the attack came from Yemen, according to Reuters.

This is the third time that the two leaders have spoken over the phone since August, as Prime Minister Imran continues to raise the issue of occupied Kashmir at different platforms.

India on August 5 unilaterally decided to revoke Article 370 of its constitution, which granted special autonomy to occupied Kashmir. A crippling curfew was imposed in the disputed region which has now been in place for 44 days.

Early in September, along with the UAE foreign minister, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Ahmed Al Jubeir visited Islamabad as a result of direct telephone calls by the premier to the crown princes of the two countries.

During their visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted Pakistan's deep concern over the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in occupied Kashmir.

The family of Nimrita Amarta Maher Chandani — a BDS final-year student at Bibi Aseefa Dental College (BADC) who was found dead in her hostel room in Larkana yesterday — has refuted earlier reports that the student committed suicide and demanded a "transparent investigation" into the circumstances of her death.

Yesterday, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical University (SMBBMU) Vice Chancellor Prof Aneela Attaur Rehman had told Dawn that Nimrita was found dead in her room, which was locked. She said that the mobile phone and other belongings of the deceased student, along with other evidence, were taken into custody by police for a forensic analysis. The actual cause of her death has yet to be ascertained, she had said.

Police officials had not stated a cause of death either. A source at the Chandka Medical College (CMC) — where Nimrita's body had been taken after being found in her room — had expressed suspicion that the victim might have committed suicide.

Nimrita's brother Dr Vishal, a medical consultant in Dow Medical College in Karachi, told the media that the marks around her neck suggested that she had not committed suicide. He had further claimed that the marks on her neck looked like those made by cable wires, while the wounds on her arms made it seem like someone was holding her down.

Talking to DawnNewsTV today, Nimrita's uncle said that they wanted an investigation into why her body was kept in CMC's intensive care unit before the family reached the hospital. He accused the doctors of being involved in the "murder" and questioned why a post-mortem examination had not been conducted.

A first information report (FIR) of the incident is yet to be registered. Nimrita's family said they will lodge a complaint with the police once they receive a post-mortem examination report. Police have yet to issue a statement.

Activist Kakoo Ram repeated the allegations of the deceased's uncle and said that Nimrita was a social activist. He demanded that the Larkana administration look into the matter.

Meanwhile, Nimrita was laid to rest in her hometown in Ghotki. The Hindu community in Mirpur Mathelo shut down their businesses and shops in order to mourn her death and register their protest. Social media users also demanded an investigation into her death

Meanwhile, PPP leader Nisar Khuhro told reporters that a post-mortem examination of Nimrita's body has been carried out and that the report would determine whether she was murdered or had committed suicide.

Khuhro said that the police were investigating the case "from all angles" and added that police will take strict action if it turns out to be a murder case.

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متحدہ عرب امارات اور سعودی عرب کے وزرائے خارجہ نے اکٹھے پاکستان کا دورہ کیا اور اعلیٰ سیاسی و عسکری قیادت سے ملاقاتیں کیں۔ ان ملاقاتوں کی اندرونی کہانی یہ سامنے آئی کہ عرب

دوستوں نے پاکستان پر واضح کیا کہ کشمیر پاکستان اور بھارت کے درمیان تنازع ہے، اسے مسلم امّہ کا مسئلہ نہ بنایا جائے۔

اس خبر کو انکشاف کے طور پر نہیں لیا جاسکتا کیونکہ وزیرِ خارجہ شاہ محمود قریشی اور فواد چوہدری پہلے ہی پاکستانیوں کو یہ بات سمجھانے کی کوشش کر رہے تھے اور انہیں یہ بات اعلیٰ سطح کے رابطوں کے دوران سمجھ آچکی تھی۔ وزیرِاعظم عمران خان کی حکومت نے اسی لیے اس خبر پر نہ بُرا منایا اور نہ ہی اس کی تردید کی ضرورت محسوس کی گئی۔

بھارتی وزیرِاعظم نریندر مودی کو اعلیٰ ترین سول اعزاز دینے کے بعد اماراتی وزیرِ خارجہ کا سعودی ہم منصب کے ساتھ پاکستان آنا اہم ہے۔ ایک تو نریندر مودی کو ایوارڈ دینے سے اماراتی شیخوں کے بارے میں پاکستان میں رائے عامہ متاثر تھی دوسری وجہ یہ تھی کہ یہ واضح کیا جائے کہ نریندر مودی کو ایوارڈ دینے سے عرب امارات پاکستان کے ساتھ دشمنی نہیں کر رہا۔ تیسری وجہ اسرائیل فلسطین تنازع پر امریکی صدر کے ’ڈیل آف دی سنچری‘ کے اجرا کی تاریخ کا قریب آنا ہے۔ فلسطین تنازع کو بھی کشمیر کے ساتھ ملا کر دیکھنے کی ضرورت ہے کیونکہ فلسطین پر بھی عربوں کا مؤقف کشمیر کی طرح بدل گیا ہے۔

پاکستان میں اماراتی شیخوں سے متعلق رائے عامہ ہمارے وزیرِ خارجہ شاہ محمود قریشی پہلے ہی ہموار کرچکے ہیں۔ جہاں تک بات ہے دشمنی کا تاثر ختم کرنے کی تو یہ اماراتی شیخوں کی ضرورت بھی ہے اور مجبوری بھی۔ عالمی سچائی کے طور پر ایک محاورہ سفارت کاری کا حصہ ہے کہ اگر تم اپنے حریف کو شکست نہیں دے سکتے تو اس کے شراکت دار بن جاؤ۔

عرب امارات کو سی پیک اور گوادر سے کتنی ہی پرخاش کیوں نہ ہو یہ حقیقت ہے کہ چین سی پیک سے پیچھے ہٹے گا اور نہ ہی گوادر منصوبے کو ناکام ہونے دے گا۔

امارات کو ان دونوں منصوبوں سے ڈر ہے لیکن اسے یہ بھی علم ہے کہ وہ انہیں روکنے کی پوزیشن میں نہیں، اس لیے وہ سفارت کاری کے اس سنہرے اصول پر عمل پیرا ہے۔ امارات پاکستان کو دشمن بنانے کی پوزیشن میں نہیں لیکن بھارت کے ساتھ مفادات بھی جڑے ہیں، اس لیے اس نے واضح کردیا ہے کہ کشمیر کو چھوڑ کر باقی تمام امور پر پہلے کی طرح تعلقات اور تعاون برقرار رہے گا۔

سعودی وزیرِ خارجہ اماراتی ہم منصب کے ساتھ آئے تاکہ وہ ثالثی کا کام کریں۔ سعودی عرب اور امارات یمن جنگ میں حلیف سے حریف بنتے جا رہے ہیں لیکن سعودی عرب اس امید پر امارات کا ساتھ نبھا رہا ہے کہ یمن میں امارات جنوبی یمن کی علیحدگی پسند کونسل کی سرپرستی چھوڑ دے گا۔

اسرائیل میں 17 ستمبر کو ہونے والے انتخابات کے نتائج کے فوری بعد اسرائیل فلسطین امن منصوبے کی نقاب کشائی ہونا ہے۔ امریکی صدر کے نمائندہ خصوصی برائے مشرق وسطیٰ جیسن گرین بلاٹ کا استعفیٰ اس امن منصوبے میں رکاوٹ نہیں بنے گا بلکہ یہ ایک اشارہ ہے کہ ان کا کام مکمل ہو گیا۔

اسرائیل فلسطین تنازع کے ممکنہ حل کے بعد اسرائیل کو تسلیم کرنے کا سوال بھی سر اٹھائے گا۔ اس کے لیے پہلے ہی سعودی عرب اور پاکستان میں بحث شروع کرائی جاچکی ہے۔ سعودی عرب میں حکومت کے ماؤتھ پیس کی حیثیت رکھنے والے صحافی اسرائیل کو تسلیم کرنے کے دلائل پیش کرچکے ہیں اور رائے عامہ کافی حد تک ہموار کی جاچکی ہے۔

پاکستان میں معروف صحافی اور اینکر کامران خان نے حکومت کا کام آسان کرتے ہوئے اسرائیل سے تعلقات قائم کرنے پر ٹویٹ داغی اور اس کی ٹائمنگ اہم تھی۔ کامران خان ایک دن پہلے کپتان سے ملاقات کرچکے تھے۔ امارات کی طرف سے مودی کو ایوارڈ دیے جانے والے عمل نے بھی پاکستان میں اسرائیل سے تعلقات کی بحث چھیڑنے میں آسانی فراہم کی۔

 

پاکستان میں اسرائیل سے تعلقات کی بحث نئی نہیں۔ 2012ء میں پرویز مشرف نے اسرائیلی اخبار کو انٹریو دیا اور کہا تھا کہ ہم قیامِ پاکستان سے ہی فلسطین کی حمایت کرتے آئے ہیں، لیکن میں حقیقت پسندی اور زمینی حقائق کے جائزے پر یقین رکھتا ہوں، تب سے اب تک بہت کچھ ہوچکا اور پالیسیاں ہمیشہ ایک جیسی نہیں رہتیں۔ کئی عرب ملکوں کے اسرائیل کے ساتھ کھلے یا ڈھکے چھپے تعلقات ہیں، اسرائیل ایک انمٹ حقیقت ہے، پاکستان کو بھی اسرائیل کے بارے میں مؤقف میں تبدیلی لانا ہوگی۔

پرویز مشرف نے اسٹیبلشمنٹ میں پائی جانے والی سوچ کی عکاسی کی تھی۔ اب دوبارہ بحث چھڑی ہے تو شاہ محمود قریشی نے بھی حصہ ڈالا اور کہا کہ عرب امارات کو اپنے قومی مفادات میں فیصلوں کا اختیار ہے، بین الاقوامی تعلقات مذہب سے بالاتر ہوتے ہیں۔ فواد چوہدری نے بھی ٹویٹر بھی ایسا ہی ایک مضمون باندھا۔ عرب دوستوں کی آمد مشرق وسطیٰ میں تبدیل ہوتے اسٹریٹیجک مفادات کے پیش نظر تھی۔ اسرائیل کو تسلیم کرنے کا سوال بھی ان اسٹریٹیجک مفادات میں اہم ہے۔

سعودی ولی عہد محمد بن سلمان تو پہلے سے ہی عوامی جذبات ماپنے پر کام شروع کرچکے ہیں۔ پچھلے سال اٹلانٹک میگزین سے انٹرویو میں سعودی ولی عہد نے کہا تھا کہ سعودی عرب اور اسرائیل کے کئی مشترکہ مفادات ہیں اور اگر خطے میں امن ہوجائے تو اسرائیل اور خلیج تعاون تنظیم کے رکن ملکوں کے بھی مفادات مشترک ہوجائیں گے۔

اس سال فروری میں وارسا میں ہونے والی مشرق وسطیٰ کانفرنس میں اسرائیلی وزیرِاعظم بنجمن نیتن یاہو شریک ہوئے۔ اس کانفرنس کے افتتاحی سیشن میں بحرین اور امارات کے وزرائے خارجہ اسرائیل کی بقا اور اس کے دفاع کے حق میں دلائل دیتے رہے۔ اسرائیلی وزیرِاعظم کے دفتر نے اس گفتگو کی ویڈیو لیک کردی تھی۔ یہ اجلاس بھی عرب ملکوں اور اسرائیل کے درمیان بڑھتی گرم جوشی کی ایک عمدہ مثال ہے۔

عرب امارات، بحرین اور عمان اسرائیل کے ساتھ تعلقات کے حوالے سے کھل کر سامنے آچکے ہیں۔ سعودی عرب نے بھارتی ایئرلائن کو اسرائیل کے لیے فضائی حدود استعمال کرنے کی اجازت دے کر صاف اشارہ دیا ہے۔ مئی میں سعودی عرب نے اسرائیلی عربوں کو سعودی عرب میں قیام اور روزگار کے منصوبے کی منظوری دی۔ اسرائیلی تاجروں کو خصوصی پرمٹ دیے جا رہے ہیں جس کے بعد انہیں پاسپورٹ دکھائے بغیر سعودی عرب داخلے کی اجازت ہوگی۔

سعودی عرب اسرائیل سے گیس کی درآمد کے لیے پائپ لائن منصوبے پر مذاکرات کرچکا ہے۔ یہ پائپ لائن اسرائیل کے بحیرہ احمر پر واقع ساحلی شہر ایلات سے سعودی عرب تک بچھائی جائے گی جو اردن کی خلیج عقبہ سے صرف 40 کلومیٹر کے فاصلے پر ہے۔ اسرائیلی سمندری حدود میں 10 سال پہلے گیس کے بڑے ذخائر دریافت ہوئے لیکن 80 فیصد گیس کا کوئی خریدار نہ ملنے پر یہ ذخائر بے مصرف پڑے ہیں۔ سعودی عرب سستی بجلی کی بڑھتی مانگ کے لیے اس گیس کا بڑا خریدار بن سکتا ہے۔ پھر اسی راستے تیل پائپ لائن بچھا کر سعودی عرب آبنائے ہرمز کا خطرناک راستہ ترک کرکے یورپی ملکوں کو تیل محفوظ اور مختصر راستے سے سپلائی کرسکتا ہے۔

اسرائیلی انتخابی نتائج کے بعد فلسطین امن منصوبے کو زبردستی تھوپ کر اسرائیل سے تعلقات کا جواز پیدا کیا جاسکتا ہے۔ اس پر کام شروع کردیا گیا ہے اور کئی مسلم ممالک مربوط ڈھنگ سے ایک ساتھ اسرائیل کو تسلیم کرنے کے اعلان کرسکتے ہیں۔ اگرچہ امن منصوبے کی کامیابی پر ابھی تک شبہات موجود ہیں لیکن امکانات کا وسیع تر جائزہ شروع کیا جاچکا ہے۔

The exact timings of the service shutdown have not been confirmed. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Pak­istan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Sunday said mobile phone services would remain suspended on the 9th and 10th of Muharram for security reasons in specified areas of all the cities across the country.

While the PTA did not confirm exact timings, the cellular services — particularly in areas through which processions pass — are expected to remain suspended from morning till 6pm on both days.

A senior official in the Ministry of Interior said that a specific notification had been issued by the government. Without naming localities, the official said cellular services in all the cities across Pakistan would be suspended in the areas identified and indicated by the district administrations and the police in their respective cities for the safety of mourners during processions.

The directions to kill both mobile and broadband services are passed down from the Ministry of Interior to the PTA, which ensures its implementation by passing on the orders to all the operators.

According to an official in the PTA, historically such instructions to suspend mobile phone services are issued at the last minute to ensure maximum security.

According to a list of sectors provided by the capital administration and the Islamabad police, mobile services will remain suspended in sectors G-6 and G-7, Blue Area, I-10 and Khyaban-i-Sir Syed, Rawalpindi on Monday and Tuesday.

While mobile phone services are also suspended in sectors G-9 and G-10, subscribers in Bari Imam may also face inconvenience due to the suspension of cell phone services on Ashura. These areas will remain out of cellular service on requests from the capital administration and Islamabad police to ensure security.

For the past few years, the authorities concerned have been suspending cellular services in the specific areas where Muharram processions are usually held, without disrupting the mobile phone services in other parts of the city.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2019

 

PM Imran assures China of CPEC projects’ speedy execution

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday Pakistan was committed to timely completion of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and hoped that more Chinese companies would make investments in the country.

During his meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the prime minister highlighted the importance of the proposed CPEC authority for speedy execution of the projects.

Mr Khan also briefed the Chinese FM on the situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) and both agreed on more high-level exchanges between Pakistan and China to further promote bilateral ties and shared goals.

During his two-day official visit, the Chinese FM also held meetings with President Dr Arif Alvi, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa. During the meetings bilateral, regional and international issues were discussed and both sides agreed to jointly promote regional peace, stability and prosperity.

The prime minister hoped that as the CPEC’s benefits expanded, more Chinese companies would invest in Pakistan and help support Pakistan’s process of industrialisation and its policies of greater agricultural productivity and innovation.

He highlighted that CPEC was a project of great national significance that contributed immensely to revitalisation of Pakistan’s economy.

Visiting foreign minister reaffirms support on Kashmir issue

Mr Khan underscored that friendship with China was cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. He briefed the Chinese side on the evolving situation in IoK following India’s Aug 5 unilateral and illegal action to strip the region of autonomy.

He stressed that the ongoing curfew for 35 days and continued lockdown and communications blockade coupled with massive human rights violations had created a dire humanitarian situation in IoK which needed to be urgently addressed.

Prime Minister Khan said that the curfew and other restrictions needed to be immediately lifted.

To deepen strategic cooperation, Pakistan and China should continue their close coordination and consultation to ensure that peace and stability in the region was maintained, he said.

Wang Yi said that Pakistan-China relationship was based on mutual respect, trust and strong bonds of friendship. He appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to achieve goals of national development under Prime Minister Khan’s leadership, and extended China’s utmost support in this regard.

He noted that with the policies of the government, Pakistan’s economic and financial condition was improving.

Wang Yi emphasised that the CPEC, which was being jointly implemented by Pakistan and China, was a demonstration project of high quality Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects.

The Chinese foreign minister conveyed best wishes of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to Mr Khan and said China-Pakistan relationship was rock-solid and unbreakable.

Wang Yi reaffirmed China’s support and reiterated opposition to any Indian unilateral action (regarding held Kashmir) as well as the measures by Delhi that could further complicate the situation.

Both leaders agreed that more high-level exchanges should continue to take place between Pakistan and China to further promote bilateral ties and shared goals of economic development, peace, and security across the region.

Joint statement

Earlier, the Foreign Office issued a joint statement at the conclusion of the two-day official visit of the Chinese foreign minister.

According to the statement, Wang Yi also called on President Dr Arif Alvi and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and met Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

During the meetings, both sides had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Both sides reiterated that the time-tested all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between China and Pakistan remained unaffected by any adverse regional and international development and continued to move from strength to strength.

Both sides reaffirmed that China-Pakistan relationship was a priority in their foreign policies, and committed to build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era.

Both sides agreed to maintain frequent mutual visits and meetings at the leadership level and continue to hold bilateral meetings between their leaders on multilateral occasions.

They noted that China and Pakistan had enjoyed mutual understanding and support on issues concerning each other’s core interests. They reiterated the resolve to implement consensus reached by the leadership of both countries to enhance strategic mutual trust and improve all-round cooperation to jointly promote regional peace, stability and prosperity.

The Chinese side reaffirmed its support for Pakistan in safeguarding its sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and national dignity, in choosing its development path in light of its national conditions, in working for a better external security environment, and in playing a more constructive role in regional and international issues.

Both sides believed that the CPEC, as a pioneering project of the BRI, had entered a new phase of high-quality development. They agreed to continue to firmly push forward the construction of CPEC, complete its ongoing projects in a timely manner, and realise its full potential by focusing on socio-economic development, job creation and better livelihood and accelerating cooperation in industrial parks and agriculture.

Both sides expressed satisfaction over the close cooperation between the two countries at multilateral fora and resolved to deepen strategic coordination and consultation. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and support for multilateralism, free trade and win-win cooperation. Both sides agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation on regional and international affairs.

Both sides underlined that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia was in common interest of all parties and agreed that parties needed to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of mutual respect and equality.

Both sides also exchanged views on the situation in India-held Kashmir.

The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation, including its concerns, position and urgent humanitarian issues.

The Chinese side responded that it was paying close attention to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated that the Kashmir issue was a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation.

Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation on the Afghan issue and support Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. Both sides welcomed the positive progress achieved in the negotiations between the Afghan Taliban and the US, and called on all Afghan political stakeholders, including the Taliban, to start intra-Afghan negotiations to form a future political structure acceptable to all parties so that peace and stability might be achieved in Afghanistan at an early date.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2019

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