Thursday May 30, 2024

Pakistan to host 19th Saarc Summit, India still an obstacle: Foreign Office

By Mariana Baabar
December 13, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan says that the 19th Saarc Summit will be held in Islamabad as member states have expressed their desire, but India continues to be an obstacle at a time when New Delhi has sabotaged the yearly meeting of Saarc States which Islamabad was to host in 2016.

Speaking at the weekly briefing at the Foreign Office, the spokesman did not indicate any date for this Summit.

“The 19th Saarc Summit is going to be held in Islamabad. Statements were made by the Saarc member states on the Saarc Charter Day, commemorated at the Foreign Office. They are expressing their desire and high hope regarding the holding of the Saarc Summit in Islamabad. India is still an obstacle,” the spokesman explained.

To a query, the spokesman said that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi boycotted the Indian minister’s speech at the Heart of Asia because of the prevailing humanitarian crisis in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

“We will continue with such appropriate steps, as per requirement,” assured the spokesman. He expressed surprise that the US Treasury Department has yet to hold anyone responsible for massive human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) but have pointed to Rao Anwar.

“Given the scope of the Global Magnitsky Act, we are surprised that the Treasury Department failed to hold anyone responsible for the most egregious, extensively reported, and independently verified human rights abuses being committed in IOK by Indian occupation forces,” said the spokesman.

The US Treasury Department has blacklisted former Malir senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rao Anwar for engaging in "serious human rights abuse" by carrying out alleged fake police 'encounters' in which scores of individuals including Waziristan native Naqeebullah Mehsud were killed.

The spokesman was reluctant to comment on a US statement in which the US reprimanded Pakistan for using F-16 jets against India, after the Balakot attack. “I have seen the news reports and sent the matter to the concerned authorities. I will share the details with you as and when received,” he said.

When asked about voices raised in US about Pakistan’s Afghan policy which saw the US making a ‘critical’ error in thinking Pakistan was a friend, the spokesman ducked the question.

“No, I will not comment on media reports. Our policy regarding Afghanistan is clear and the prime minister has reiterated it several times that there can only be a political solution to the Afghan conflict. It is heartening to note that all the global powers are now coming to this conclusion as well,” he said.

The spokesman warned of the role of ‘spoilers’ as the Taliban and US resume talks in Doha. “At this critical time, it is important to remain watchful of the role of spoilers who do not wish to see an end to the Afghan conflict. Pakistan has welcomed the resumption of direct talks between the US and Taliban. We have always held that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. We hope that the peace process is concluded soon and it leads to an intra-Afghan dialogue and reduction of violence. We will continue to support all peaceful efforts in this regard, as we have done in the past,” he said.

The spokesman paid tribute to Dr Tetsu Nakamura, a Japanese doctor recently assassinated in Afghanistan, and said that at this critical juncture, it can only be the work of ‘spoilers’ who do not wish to see a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.

“Dr Tetsu Nakamura was a towering figure in Afghanistan, who changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Afghans. His work has been recognised internationally. We condemn in strongest terms the assassination and share the grief and pain of the Afghan and Japanese people in this tragic incident. Dr Nakamura had started as a volunteer worker in Peshawar and after two years he moved to Afghanistan rendering his services for the needy in various parts of Eastern Afghanistan,” added the spokesman.