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Friday July 19, 2024

Those trying to damage Pak-China friendship to fail: FO

Baloch pointed out that the Chinese statement was a reflection of the depth of this relationship

By Mariana Baabar
March 29, 2024
A Pakistani police officer stands guard outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad on January 18, 2024. — AFP
A Pakistani police officer stands guard outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad on January 18, 2024. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Reacting to the Bisham attack, Islamabad on Thursday came loud and clear saying those trying to damage its friendship with Beijing would fail and it will continue to work with its Chinese brothers to ensure the safety and security of Chinese nationals, projects and institutions in Pakistan.

Speaking at the weekly media briefing here, the Foreign Office Spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch did not identify the ‘enemies’ when quizzed except saying, “Any country, entity or individual which targets the Chinese nationals, projects or institutions in Pakistan is an enemy of our friendship. We are awaiting results of the ongoing investigation and the law-enforcement agencies will be briefing the media on details.”

She emphasized that Pakistan would not allow any force to sabotage the Pak-China cooperation; such attempts will never succeed.

“Pakistan and China are close friends and brothers and we will continue to work together to develop CPEC and to promote our cooperation. You may have also seen the statement by the Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesperson. They have also expressed similar sentiments and said no attempts to sabotage Pakistan-China cooperation will ever succeed.”

Baloch pointed out that the Chinese statement was a reflection of the depth of this relationship and the understanding both countries had that those entities which could be behind such a dastardly attack were attempting to sabotage CPEC and target the symbols of Pakistan-China cooperation. “Our message to them is they will not succeed and we will work together to bring the culprits of this attack to justice and to ensure that CPEC and all projects of Pakistan-China cooperation, including the hydropower projects in Pakistan, will continue forward without hindrance,” she said.

For the time being, Pakistan and China are in contact with regard to the investigations into the incident. With regard to investigations and any further details about this terror attack, the authorities or law enforcement authorities concerned will brief the media and share further information when available.

Turning to the remarks made by Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar on trade with India raising many an eyebrow, the spokeswoman categorically said there had been no change in Pakistan’s policy.

“Like any foreign policy question, our relations with our neighbours remain under regular assessment and examination. Pakistan’s relations with India are an important aspect of its foreign policy. Pakistan-India trade relations, if you would recall, have been non-existent since 2019 when certain steps were taken by the Indian authorities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and subsequent steps had further deteriorated conditions in IIOJK,” she said.

In reference to the remarks made in London by the foreign minister, Baloch said he had mentioned that some members of the business community had expressed an interest in review of trade related matters with respect to India.

“Examination of such proposals is a regular exercise in the Government of Pakistan, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where we continue to consider all such requests and assess our policy. At this point, there is no change in Pakistan’s position,” she emphasized.

She underlined that the foreign minister clearly spoke about examining the matter which was a continuous process in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Every foreign policy question, including with respect to different aspects of our relations with India, is discussed and debated in this ministry on a regular basis.

That does not mean that a policy has been changed. What the foreign minister has said, and I repeat, is that the Government of Pakistan will examine the request that has come from some members of the business community,” she said.