Opening Statement of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on Thursday, 4th March, 2021
Islamabad : Assalaam-o-Alaikum and Welcome to the Weekly Press Briefing of the Foreign Office.
Let me begin by sharing that the year 2021 marks the completion of 70 years of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China, established on 21 May 1951.
In a joint ceremony held virtually, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi formally commenced the 70th anniversary celebrations.
The yearlong celebrations will include seminars, cultural exchanges, high-level visits and people-to-people linkages.
Speaking on the commencement ceremony, Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored that in the past seventy years, Pakistan-China relationship has turned into an “All Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership” which is an anchor for peace, stability, and development in the region.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasized that due to “commitment of generations of our leaders and our peoples, China-Pakistan friendship has grown into a towering tree with deep roots in the hearts of the two peoples.”
Foreign Minister Wang Yi also stated that Pakistan-China friendship has a time-honored history and in the seven decades the two countries have stood together in rain or shine, and built an exceptional and ironclad friendship.
The 14th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is being held virtually, today.
The theme of the Summit is “Regional Economic Cooperation in the Aftermath of Covid-19.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan will open the Summit in Pakistan’s capacity as the Chair of the 13th Summit, held in Islamabad in March 2017.
President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan will Chair the 14th Summit.
While sharing Pakistan’s perspective on COVID-19 challenges, the Prime Minister will outline his vision for regional economic development in line with ECO’s founding principles of promotion of trade and connectivity.
Pakistan has been actively contributing towards advancement of the goals and objectives of ECO, including regional economic integration.
The Defence Minister of the Republic of Iraq, Jumaah Enad Saadoon, met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The two Ministers reaffirmed mutual desire of both the sides to further promote and solidify existing bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of defence and defence production.
The two Ministers also exchanged views on the regional situation.
Foreign Minister Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s support for the sovereignty, political unity and territorial integrity of Iraq.
Stressing the need for frequent high-level exchanges between the two countries, Foreign Minister Qureshi hoped that the visit of the Iraqi Defence Minister would help diversify and deepen collaboration between the two countries.
As part of his regular high-level exchanges, Foreign Minister Qureshi had a telephone call with the Foreign Minister of Norway.
Matters relating to bilateral, regional and international importance, including peace in Afghanistan and the Covid-19 situation were discussed.
The two Foreign Ministers also exchanged views on enhancing cooperation in diverse sectors such as trade, investment and clean energy.
The Foreign Minister of Norway appreciated the role played by the Norwegians of Pakistani origin in the economic development of Norway.
In line with the Government’s economic outreach initiative, Foreign Minister Qureshi chaired the 5th virtual meeting on Economic Diplomacy.
Pakistan’s Envoys to France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania and Russia participated in the meeting.
Highlighting the shifting focus from geo-strategic to geo-economics, the Foreign Minister underscored the centrality of Economic Diplomacy in the Government’s diplomatic outreach efforts.
The Foreign Minister reviewed Pakistan’s economic relations with the six European countries and emphasized the need to explore new opportunities to enhance bilateral trade and investment with these countries.
As part of its regular outreach to the people of Nepal, the Embassy of Pakistan in Kathmandu, organized a Free Medical Camp in collaboration with the Nepal Pakistan Friendship and Cultural Association (NPFCA).
At the camp, Pakistan trained Nepali Consultants provided free medical consultation, laboratory services, and medicines to over 400 patients.
On 27 February, the entire Pakistani nation remembered with great pride Pakistan’s befitting response to India’s irresponsible military misadventure two years ago.
India violated Pakistani airspace and conducted air strike inside Pakistan in complete violation of the United Nations Charter and international law on 26 February 2019.
The valiant Armed Forces of Pakistan swiftly responded and displayed exemplary courage and professionalism.
On 27 February 2019, Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian fighter jets and captured an Indian pilot.
The captured Indian pilot was returned as a gesture of peace.
Pakistan, once again, not only resolutely safeguarded its territorial sovereignty, but also acted with tremendous restraint and responsibility.
Coming to the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), in complete disregard of its international legal and moral obligations, India has continuously subjected the innocent Kashmiri people to a brutal military siege since its illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019.
During the month of February alone, the Indian occupation forces martyred six more Kashmiris in the so-called cordon and search operations.
Pakistan strongly condemns the unabated extra-judicial killings of innocent Kashmiris in fake encounters and staged ‘cordon-and-search’ operations.
Pakistan is deeply concerned over the continued incarceration of Kashmiri leaders, including Asiya Andrabi, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Yasin Malik; Masarat Alam Bhat, Mohammad Ashraf Sehraie and others.
The Indian Government has illegally arrested these Kashmiri leaders over false and made-up charges to muzzle the Kashmiri voices.
The international community must urge the Indian government to immediately release incarcerated Kashmiri leadership and political prisoners; end restrictions on fundamental freedoms of the Kashmiri people; remove draconian laws such as PSA, AFSA and UAPA; and allow unhindered access to the UN and OIC observer missions, international human rights and humanitarian organizations, and global media to assess the ground situation in IIOJK.
It is collective responsibility of the world community, including the United Nations, to work for peaceful and permanent resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant Security Council Resolutions for durable peace and stability in South Asia.
I thank you and am happy to take questions on these or other foreign policy related developments.