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February 21, 2020

Pakistan hopes Trump will raise Kashmir issue during India visit

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February 21, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Ahead of the visit of US President Donald Trump to India next week, Pakistan sent a timely reminder to Washington reminding Trump to raise the issue of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and take some concrete steps regarding the proposal of mediating between Islamabad and New Delhi.

The proposal to mediate on IOK was made by Trump during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Washington in July last year.

“We hope that during the US president’s visit to India the issues being faced by the people of IOK will be raised with the Indian government and the offer of mediation expressed by the US president is taken forward through some concrete practical step,” spokesperson at the Foreign Office commented during the weekly media briefing.

She also commented on a letter that Senator Lindsay Graham and three other senators have written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing their concerns about the state of human rights in IOK.

“The letter aims to draw attention towards atrocities being committed in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir. There are growing voices calling upon India to provide fundamental freedoms to the people of Jammu & Kashmir and to lift the draconian laws like Public Safety Act,” she said.

The spokesperson pointed out that this letter is yet another voice in that growing international call on the government of India to abide by international law, human rights conventions and to ensure that a just resolution is given to the people of IOK. “We welcome it,” she responded.

Together with the US senators, US Congressmen too have while on a visit to New Delhi expressed concerns over the situation in IOK asking Prime Minister Modi to release all political detainees and restore complete normalcy in Kashmir.

Congressmen Ami Bera, Democrat Chair of Asia Pacific Group of House Foreign Affairs Committee in the US Congress, and Republican George Holding, who is co-chair of the India Caucus, told the media that they were keen to bring a US Congressional delegation to IOK.

“We have expressed our concern on the continued detention of political leaders in Kashmir. We would like to see an early return to normalcy there,” said Ami Bera.

As the delayed election results in Kabul throw up President Ashraf Ghani the winner for a second term, Pakistan says it has noted the announcement made by the Independent Afghan Election Commission of Afghanistan. “We are monitoring the developments and will respond at an appropriate time,” said the spokesperson to a query.

Commenting on the Afghan peace process which sees an agreement between the Taliban and the US leading to a ceasefire and an

intra-Afghan dialogue, the spokesperson remarked, “Pakistan is keen to see the peace process move forward and lead towards an intra-Afghan dialogue.”

When asked about participation of Pakistan at the signing ceremony, the spokesperson said, “Regarding participation in the Afghan peace process and the potential signing date of agreement, I will let you know once we have the final confirmation.”

Commenting on Pakistan’s Afghan policy, the spokesperson recalled the statement of the UN Secretary General (UNSG) who was in Islamabad this week.

“The UNSG appreciated Pakistan’s role in the Afghanistan peace process; he acknowledged Pakistan’s contribution to UN efforts in promotion and maintenance of international peace and security; recognised the extraordinary generosity and solidarity that the Pakistani people have shown by hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over four decades,” she said.