FO WEEKLY BRIEFING

Canadian parliamentarian’s remarks about Pak military are baseless, FO

Islamabad  (VOM) : It was stated by Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed while responding to questions during his weekly news briefing.
Foreign Office extending deepest condolences and sympathies over the loss of precious lives and damage to property caused by the tragic earthquake in Paktika province of Afghanistan and its adjoining areas, and torrential floods in various provinces across the country. Yesterday, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif held a telephonic conversation with Acting Prime Minister of the Interim Afghan Government, Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund to offer condolences and prayers for the departed souls and wished speedy recovery for the injured.
On directions of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan has dispatched relief goods to Afghanistan on 22 June 2022. Government and people of Pakistan stand ready to extend all possible support to ameliorate the suffering of our Afghan brethren in this difficult time.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari virtually addressed the First Meeting of Group of Friends on Countering Disinformation for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms held at the United Nations, New York. Noting that like many other countries Pakistan had been victim of targeted campaigns of disinformation, the Foreign Minister urged that this pandemic of disinformation should be confronted, countered and defeated at national and international level by:
• Enhancing public awareness
• Enhancing capacity of governments
• Minimizing negative impact of disinformation on human rights, and its highlighting by UN human rights mechanisms
• Developing rules, standards and regulations for adherence
• Creating an Inter-Agency Task Force on Disinformation and appoint a Focal Point, for regular and on-going interactions
• Opening a comprehensive dialogueto develop a coherent consensus on international cooperation to combat disinformation.
This meeting was a follow-up to the initiative that Pakistan, together with several like-minded countries, took last year in the UN General Assembly leading to the adoption of landmark UNGA resolution No. 76/227 on “Countering Disinformation for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”.
The “Group of Friends” has been established to promote the implementation of that resolution.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, is on an official visit to Kigali, Rwanda to lead Pakistan’s delegation to the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on 24-25 June 2022. Yesterday, she also attended the Pre-CHOGM Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM).

The Minister of State will present Pakistan’s perspective at the plenary. She will also hold several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of CHOGM.
As you have followed, at its plenary meeting last week in Berlin, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) acknowledged the completion of Pakistan’s Action Plans of 2018 and 2021 covering 34 items, especially the early completion of the 2021 Action Plan in a record timeframe, and also authorized an onsite visit to Pakistan, as a final step to exit from the grey list. Minister of State Hina Rabbani Khar led Pakistan’s delegation to the FATF Plenary, and had a detailed press interaction on return.
In their statements, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister welcomed the development and commended the hard work and dedicated efforts of Pakistan’s FATF team that led to the successful completion of all technical requirements of both FATF Action Plans. They acknowledged the concerted national efforts and complete harmony of interests by all stakeholders and reaffirmed the Government of Pakistan’s commitment to continue this positive trajectory of reforming the financial sector as part of its larger strategic objective of strengthening Pakistan’s economy. They also expressed hope for a successful on-site visit and early culmination of the process leading to Pakistan’s exit from the grey list.
On 18 & 19 June 2022, Pakistan joined the international community in commemorating the International Day for Countering Hate Speech & International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict respectively. Pakistan has been advocating for an international framework against hate speech, disinformation and balanced approach between fundamental freedoms and responsibilities. On these days, Pakistan reaffirmed its commitment to the universality of all human rights and their equal application in conflict areas and areas under occupation.

World Refugee Day was commemorated on 20 June 2022. While observing this Day, we expressed our solidarity with refugees all around the world. It may be recalled that Pakistan has shouldered the responsibility of one of the largest and most protracted refugee situations in the world for over four decades. Pakistan continues to host more than 3 million Afghans.

On 17 June 2022, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi issued 495 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to attend the rituals related to the annual Death Anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh from 21-30 June 2022. During the visit, the pilgrims would, inter-alia, go to Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib.
On 20 June, the Government of Pakistan has released 20 Indian fishermen prisoners upon completion of their sentences. These fishermen have been repatriated via Wagah Border to India.
On 20 June, the first batch of 90 Pakistani students have returned to China on a special chartered flight to continue their on-campus studies. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had made a special request for the return of students to China for on-campus studies during his meeting with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in China on 22 May. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training, HEC and the Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing have been actively engaged in efforts for facilitating the return of the students. It is expected that the successful arrival of the first batch would pave the way for return of all Pakistani students to China for on-campus studies.
 
 
Coming over to the Situation in IIOJK

Pakistan strongly condemns extra-judicial killing of eleven more Kashmiris in fresh acts of state-sponsored terrorism by Indian occupation forces in Pulwama and Baramulla Districts of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
Since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019, more than 636 Kashmiris have embraced martyrdom in fake ‘encounters’ and so-called ‘cordon-and-search operations. This year alone, 113 extra-judicial killings of Kashmiris have been recorded.

India must realize that use of brutal force against the Kashmiri people, extra-judicial killings, custodial torture & deaths, forced disappearances, incarceration of Kashmiri leadership & youth and other methods of subjugation have failed in the past and will not succeed in the future.

Pakistan also urges the international community to hold India responsible for its brazen suppression of innocent Kashmiris and play its due role in ensuring a just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

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