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September 13, 2019

Imran set to give policy statement on Kashmir today

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September 13, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will give a policy statement regarding the situation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir during his upcoming visit to Azad Kashmir on Friday, the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

More: No secret talks with India: FO

"The policy statement is part of Pakistan's continued struggle for the Kashmir cause," Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said at a weekly media briefing. He said several other steps were also under consideration regarding the IoK and would be shared as the situation unfolds. The spokesperson said the struggle for Kashmir was a continued process, not an event.

"Our stance is loud and clear that the all issues with India including the Kashmir dispute can be resolved through dialogue," he added. About the composition of 58 countries that joined Pakistan's call at the Human Rights Council, he said these mostly included members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and other states that condemned India’s illegal occupation of Kashmir and the continued communications lockdown of the valley.

The spokesperson termed as "speculative" the media reports quoting the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates after their joint visit to Pakistan as saying that the Kashmir issue should not be linked with the Muslim Ummah.

"Instead, the visit of the two foreign ministers affirmed Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s solidarity with Pakistan and also support for the Kashmir cause," he said. Regarding any follow-up to the mediation offer by US President Donald Trump between Pakistan and India on the dispute of Kashmir, he said there were already offers by several other countries, however India was not ready to come to the dialogue table.

He said India's negative response was delaying the solution of the issue, which was creating a humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir. The foreign office spokesperson said India's draconian emergency laws in occupied Jammu and Kashmir could not be allowed to stand, and called for authorising the office of the Human Rights Commissioner and office of the Human Rights to monitor and report on India’s human rights violations. He stressed that India must allow the international media and human rights organisations to visit occupied Kashmir.

To a question on stalemate in talks between the United States and Taliban, he said Pakistan wanted all sides to exercise restraint and refrain from violence. "We encouraged and facilitated the Afghan peace process and always maintained that the only solution to the Afghan conflict rested in a politically-negotiated settlement, led and owned by Afghans themselves," he said.

He expressed the hope that the peace talks between the US and Taliban would be resumed at the earliest and momentum would be maintained for a peaceful and positive outcome in the best interest of the region's peace.

Speaking about Pakistan charging a 20-dollar fee to the religious tourists of Kartarpur, the spokesperson clarified that it was not an entry fee but service fee meant to share 10 to 15 percent expenditure of construction and other facilities including roads, buses, reception centre, etc.

To a question on any meeting expected in the future between Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav with diplomats from his country, he said: "There is no other meeting."

Regarding a statement by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcing his post-election plan to annex the Jordan Valley, he said: "We reject any such movement which could be illegal and a dangerous escalation."

While reaffirming solidarity with Palestinians, he said Pakistan called for a viable and independent state of Palestine on the basis of internally agreed parameters of the pre-1969 borders with al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital.

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