FO Weekly Briefing

Pakistan looking for cooperation from Afghan interim Govt to face challenge of terrorism, FO

Islamabad : Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said during the weekly press briefing.

She said Pakistan hopes for sincere cooperation from the Afghan interim government to address the challenge of terrorism and hopes that Afghanistan will live up its commitments made with the international community and Pakistan in this regard.

Kashmir Solidarity Day which will be observed on 5th February. Like every year, the Pakistani nation will express its unwavering solidarity with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their just struggle for realization of their Right to Self-determination. The Day will be observed with traditional zeal and fervor by all sections of society in Pakistan and by the Pakistani and Kashmiri Diaspora around the world.

We believe that durable peace, security and development in the region hinges on peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. It is imperative that the Kashmiris exercise their right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations.

Pakistan will continue to extend all possible support to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters towards a just and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto is currently in Washington DC from 1-3 February 2023 to attend the National Prayer Breakfast which brings together US and international leaders for a discourse on contemporary issues. The Foreign Minister will be a keynote speaker at the event where he will speak about the “Role of Faith in the Future and Sustainability of Democracy”. he addressed the annual gathering of the White House Fellows and Congressional Staff. He has held meetings with Administration officials, Councillor State Department Derek Chollet and Executive Director of the World Food Programme. The Foreign Minister returns home tomorrow.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari undertook an official visit to Moscow at the invitation of Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov from 29-30 January 2023. This was Foreign Minister’s first visit to Moscow which coincided with the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Pakistan.

Foreign Minister held delegation level talks with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on 30th January 2023. The talks covered the entire range of bilateral relations with a special focus on trade and economic relations, energy cooperation as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest.

The two Foreign Ministers agreed to further enhance cooperation in the areas of trade, energy, education, culture, security and counter-terrorism. They also agreed on the importance of regular high-level exchanges and to continue bilateral dialogue mechanisms to explore mutually beneficial cooperation.

The two Foreign Ministers discussed global and regional issues, especially South Asia and Afghanistan. Bilateral cooperation at multilateral fora including SCO came under discussion.

Last week, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar led Pakistan delegation to UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Minister of State presented Pakistan’s national progress report under the Universal Periodic Review, UPR-42.

In her remarks, the Minister of State highlighted legal, policy, institutional and administrative steps taken by Pakistan to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms. She reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to promote well-being and welfare of its people, build a democratic polity and foster an inclusive society. She noted the steady progress on implementation of recommendations made at Pakistan’s 3rd Universal Periodic Review and expressed Pakistan’s continued commitment to human rights.

On the sidelines of the event, the Minister of State held meetings with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Director General of the International Labor Organization, Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Special Representative for Afghanistan of the United States Thomas West and the European Union’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson visited Pakistan this week and held meetings with Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Afghanistan, Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq and Foreign Secretary Dr. Asad Majeed Khan. During these meetings, the two sides discussed the regional situation including the recent developments in Afghanistan and humanitarian support to the Afghan people. The Pakistan side reaffirmed our commitment to a peaceful, stable and interconnected region.

Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Ms. Inger Andersen is on an official visit to Pakistan from 30th January to 3rd February 2023. During this visit, she has engaged with different national stakeholders. Ms. Anderson called on the Prime Minister and held meetings with Minister for Climate Change, Ms. Sherry Rehman and the Foreign Secretary Dr. Asad Majeed Khan.

In these meetings, the ongoing cooperation between Pakistan and UNEP, including with reference to Pakistan’s efforts to build back better and greener after the last year’s floods was discussed. Pakistan reiterated its commitment to promoting partnerships at all levels in response to climate change and for protecting biological diversity and addressing waste and pollution.

As the current Chair of G77 & China (Nairobi Chapter), Pakistan is actively contributing to UNEP’s agenda and engaged in extensive dialogue on cooperation between UNEP and developing countries to address climate change, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem degradation.

Pakistan has strongly condemned Israel’s brutal attack on the city and camp of Jenin in the State of Palestine, killing several innocent Palestinians. We call for an end to these illegal incursions and actions by the Israeli occupation forces. Human rights of the Palestinian people must be respected. Pakistan will continue its strong and unwavering support to the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for the full realization of their rights including the right to self- determination.

Pakistan supports the Palestinian demand for a viable, independent and contiguous Palestinian State, with pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, in accordance with the relevant United Nations and OIC resolutions.

You may have seen that we have condemned in the strongest terms the senseless and deeply offensive act of desecration of the Holy Quran in Denmark. We have conveyed our concerns to the authorities in Denmark. We consider such acts as racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic. Pakistan is concerned about the growing Islamophobia around the world as the freedom of expression is being blatantly abused to spread religious hatred and incitement to violence against Muslim minorities. We urge the international community to be mindful of the hurt such actions cause to Muslims including in Pakistan and to take effective steps to prevent such hateful and Islamophobic acts.

I conclude with an upcoming visit announcement. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar will undertake a visit to Colombo on 3-4 February 2023 to participate in the 75th Independence Day of Sri Lanka as a Guest of Honour. In addition to attending the Independence Day events, she will call on the Sri Lankan leadership and hold a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka have historic ties that have grown steadily in all aspects of bilateral cooperation. We also have worked closely in multilateral forums including SAARC. The visit of the Minister of State would contribute to enhanced understanding between the two countries and signal Pakistan’s support for Sri Lanka in a difficult time.