ISLAMABAD: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuolu says that there is complete understanding in Turkey on Pakistan’s position on the Pulwama attack, and rejected accusations that Pakistan was behind it.
On Friday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi telephoned his Turkish counterpart and thanked him for Turkey’s steadfast support to Pakistan on a range of issues, the Minister’s office said. “Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuolu also underscored the need for dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues. He emphasised that the issue of Kashmir needed to be resolved through dialogue and in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions,” said the Foreign Office.
Pakistan has been conveyed that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Pakistan after the local elections in Turkey.
Earlier during his visit to New Delhi, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir had told the Indian media that his government would not point fingers to Pakistan regarding the Pulwama attack because they had not been provided any evidence in this matter.
Briefing the Turkish Foreign Minister on the situation after the Pulwama incident, the Foreign Minister stated that Pakistan had asked India to share any actionable information it had enabling Pakistan to help in the investigation.
Qureshi appreciated Turkey’s understanding of Pakistan’s position on different issues and its continued support. He said that excellent relations between the two brotherly countries had been further reinforced after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Turkey in January. During the visit the two sides had agreed to transform Pakistan-Turkey relations into a new enhanced strategic partnership.
Meanwhile, India’s Supreme Court on Friday ordered the federal government and several states to ensure protection for Kashmiris and minority communities, particularly students, from violence or backlash over the February 14 Pulwama attack.
According to Indian media, a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi ordered the chief secretaries and police chiefs of several sensitive states to ensure vigilance and curb any violent tendencies in the bud.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Qureshi and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua met with Untied States Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom, Ambassador Samuel Dale Brownback at the Foreign Minister today, where they expressed concern over Pakistan’s designation as Country of Particular Concern by the US State Department.
The Foreign Minister highlighted that the designation did not appear to be in sync with the ground reality.
“Pakistan is a mutli-religious and pluralistic society where people of diverse faiths and denominations live together. Pakistan has ensured constitutional and legal protection and freedom to all its citizens irrespective caste, creed or religious”, said Qureshi.
The Foreign Minister added that Pakistan had always been a partner of international cooperation on the issues of religious freedom.
The Ambassador was told that the Constitution of Pakistan protected rights of all minorities in Pakistan and as part to 7 out of 9 human rights treaties, was fully cognizant of its commitments to respect and protect minorities.
“Pakistan led initiatives to combat religious intolerance and promote interfaith harmony have been endorsed by the UNGA and Human Rights Council”, said the Minister.
The two sides agreed to work together to devise a strategy to get Pakistan out of the list of Countries of Particular Concern. The Foreign Minister said that Pakistan will designate a focal person to interact with Ambassador Brownback to implement the strategy.
The Foreign Minister said that higher judiciary of the country has made landmark decisions to protect the properties and places of worships of minorities.
Instead the attention of Ambassador Brownback was turned to the systematic persecution and suppression of fundamental rights including religious freedom of the Kashmiri people at the hands of Indian forces.
He urged Ambassador Brownback to take notice of egregious violations of human rights and religious freedom of minorities in India and the people in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.
The Foreign Secretary in her meeting briefed the Ambassador on policies of the government, based on the Quaid's vision of an inclusive society, to promote religious freedom.
She pointed to Pakistan’s inclusive policies which include the opening o f the Kartarpur Corridor, promoting visits to Buddist sites.
“Pakistan is proud to have a Cardinal and welcomes Hindus to their holy sites in Pakistan,” she added.
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