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Friday July 19, 2024

Foreign envoys asked to be cautious in comments

CJP had told British High Commissioner that her reservations on judiciary’s role in Feb 8 polls, were “unjustified”

By Mariana Baabar
June 01, 2024
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs building can be seen. — APP/File
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs building can be seen. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office has asked the members of the diplomatic corps to follow diplomatic norms in their engagements and activities inside Pakistan. This statement was made by the spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Mumtaz Zahra Baloch at weekly media briefing regarding the letter written by the Chief Justice of Pakistan to the UK High Commissioner.

The Chief Justice had told the British High Commissioner that her reservations about the judiciary’s role in the conduct of the February 8 general elections, were “unjustified.” Addressing the Asma Jahangir Conference held last month in Lahore, the High Commissioner Jane Marriott had critiqued the “legal processes” that deprived political parties of “recognizable party symbols,” and further said all political parties were not allowed to fully participate in the electoral contest.

Responding to questions, the MOFA Spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said we do expect the members of the diplomatic corps to follow the diplomatic norms in their engagements and activities inside Pakistan. We hope they will exercise caution in making public comments especially on Pakistan’s domestic matters”, she explained. To other related queries, she said she would not like to comment on the views of the highest court of land, the honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan. She said she was also not aware of the advice that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may have given to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. “The Supreme Court of Pakistan is the Supreme Constitutional body.

The spokeswoman also announced that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will undertake an official visit to China from 4-8 June 2024 at the invitation of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang. “The visit will have three segments. Besides Beijing, the prime minister will visit the cities of Xi’an and Shenzhen. In Beijing, the prime minister will meet President Xi Jinping and hold delegation-level talks with Premier Li Qiang. He will also hold meetings with Chairman, Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Zhao Leji and heads of key government departments”, announced the Spokeswoman at the Foreign Official during the weekly media briefing. She pointed out that an important aspect of the prime minister’s visit will be meetings with corporate executives of leading Chinese companies dealing in oil and gas, energy, ICT, and emerging technologies. In Shenzhen, he will address the Pakistan-China Business Forum with leading businesspersons, entrepreneurs, and investors from both countries. He will also visit Economic and Agricultural Zones in China.

The prime minister’s visit, the spokeswoman added is a manifestation of the iron-clad Pakistan-China friendship characterized by frequent high-level exchanges and dialogue. The two sides will undertake discussions to further strengthen the All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership; upgrade China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; advance trade and investment; enhance cooperation in security and defence, energy, space, science & technology, education; and promote cultural cooperation and people-to-people contacts, thus setting the future trajectory of Pakistan-China friendship”, she added.

To a query on deliberations on terrorism during the visit, the MOFA Spokeswoman pointed out that Pakistan and China have several channels of communication where they continue to discuss all aspects of mutual concern including terrorism.“ So, these talks continue. I am not in a position to share internal deliberations and privileged diplomatic conversations between Pakistan and its iron brother, China. China-Pakistan friendship has been tested by the winds and clouds of the times, and is as solid as a rock and as stable as Mount Taishan, she added.

Pakistan and China have been discussing issues relating to terrorism, relating to security of Chinese nationals in Pakistan. I would like you to refer to the joint statement, which was made during the visit of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Ishaq Dar to China just two weeks ago”, she responded. In this regard she said there was a clear mention where the two sides emphasized that no attempt to undermine Pakistan-China cooperation will ever succeed. The Pakistan side reaffirmed its commitment to hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice, to take more effective security measures and make all-out efforts to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel, projects and institutions in Pakistan”, she said. The Chinese side recognises Pakistan’s contributions and sacrifices in combating terrorism over the years. The two sides also agreed to further strengthen cooperation in counterterrorism and security through a comprehensive approach. “So, there is already a robust dialogue on terrorism that takes place between Pakistan and China. The two countries have a history of trust and confidence in each other and that makes our communication much more effective and productive”, she said.

Regarding threats by the Islamic State Khorasan who reportedly publicly threatened the Pakistan cricket team which will play in the United States, the Spokeswoman said, “Our side remains in contact with the local authorities to facilitate the visit of our cricket team to the United States. We expect the government of the US to fully provide security to Pakistan’s cricket team and Pakistani nationals who live in the United States”, she said.

Her attention was drawn to online threats by the TLP against a woman journalist and the support the journalist had received from the Ambassador of the European Union, she responded , “Online bullying and misogynistic campaign against journalists and public figures is unacceptable. Pakistan has laws in place to protect individuals from cybercrime and cyber-bullying. We hope that the European Union would be as vocal about the rights of journalists who are facing restrictions in reporting on developments in Gaza and Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the double standards that are being witnessed on freedom of expression in many countries in Europe”.