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Friday July 19, 2024

Pakistan not to attend Ukraine peace moot

The peace conference is being held in Switzerland on 15th and 16th of June

By Mariana Baabar
June 14, 2024
FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch speaks during her weekly press briefing in Islamabad on February 1, 2024,  in this still taken from a video. — Facebook/Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad
FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch speaks during her weekly press briefing in Islamabad on February 1, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Facebook/Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Thursday announced it will not attend the Ukraine Peace Conference, citing a host of factors, including the scheduling challenges.

The peace conference is being held in Switzerland on 15th and 16th of June. However, the Foreign Office did not elaborate on these factors during the weekly media briefing. “Pakistan stands for universal and consistent application of UN Charter principles, including non-use or threat of use of force, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, pacific settlement of disputes and equal security for all states. We reiterate our call for immediate cessation of hostilities and stress the need for diplomacy and dialogue for an early negotiated end to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia,” said the Foreign Office Spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch while commenting on the peace conference.

Russia has not been invited to the conference, while China too has declined to attend. One reason for Pakistan not attending the conference could be that it is not keen to be taking sides between Russia and Ukraine — a policy that it has maintained in the past too.

Meanwhile, reacting to the US criticism of Pakistan’s decision to continue to place PTI supporter and US citizen Ms Khadijah Shah on the ECL, the spokeswoman explained that Ms Shah’s case was still under trial. “It is being dealt with according to the Pakistani laws. Pakistani courts will make decisions regarding the case pertaining to Ms. Khadijah Shah,” the spokeswoman said.

Commenting on the recent policy to stop issuing Pakistani passports to citizens opting for asylum abroad, she said the decisions regarding issuance of passports to Pakistani nationals or individuals who have decided to renounce their nationality and seek asylum abroad are important ones. “With respect to these questions, the Government of Pakistan will take decisions according to its own laws.”

She further said, “Pakistan will continue to abide by its Illegal Foreigners Repatriation Plan which is underway, as was decided by the Government of Pakistan several months ago. Any individual who is here illegally, irrespective of their nationality, is expected to return to their home country or a third country that is willing to accept them.”

On continued attacks by terrorists from Afghanistan in Pakistan, the spokeswoman reiterated that Pakistan had raised, on multiple occasions, its concerns with the Afghan authorities about individuals wanted for terror attacks inside Pakistan or for sponsoring terror attacks inside Pakistan. “We have conveyed to them intelligence and law enforcement reports of involvement of individuals responsible for terror attacks inside Pakistan with backing from elements inside Afghanistan. During his visit to Afghanistan last month, our secretary interior shared with the Afghan side concrete evidence of the involvement of such individuals in Bisham attack. We expect Afghanistan to take effective action against such individuals,” she added.

Regarding legal documentation for trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the spokeswoman clarified that the government’s prime concern was to engage with Afghanistan to facilitate the business and traders community for travel to Afghanistan. “We believe that all exchanges should take place on the basis of legal documents. The concerns of our Pakistani business and trader community were an important consideration when agreeing with Afghanistan on interim arrangements with regard to the TAD agreement,” she said.