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Pakistan will continue to extend unstinted moral, political & diplomatic support to the people of J&K: FO Spokesperson

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch has said that Pakistan will continue to extend unstinted moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their quest for self-determination in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions. She said that Pakistan fully capable of dealing with the terrorism, adding that news of Indian prime minister’s visit to Pakistan is based on speculation so no comment could be made on it.

This was state by FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch during the weekly press briefing on Friday.

FO Spokesperson started her press briefing with the visit of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif to the United Arab Emirates. She said that Prime Minister arrived in Abu Dhabi on Thursday for a two-day visit. He is undertaking this visit at the invitation of the President of the United Arab Emirates His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

She said that since Thursday, the Prime Minister has held meetings with the President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum. During these meetings the leaders reviewed bilateral ties between Pakistan and the UAE; and agreed to further strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation especially in the areas of trade, investment and energy.

She said that the two sides agreed to deepen bilateral investment cooperation, stimulate partnerships and enable investment integration opportunities. She said that on Friday, the Prime Minister held meeting with Emirati entrepreneurs and investors to explore opportunities to enhance trade and investment.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that as we celebrate 51 years of diplomatic relations, the UAE remains Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle Eastand home to more than 1.6 million Pakistanis – the second largest Pakistani expatriate community abroad.

While talking about the recently concluded International Conference on Resilient Pakistan, held in Geneva on 9th January 2023 and co-hosted by the Government of Pakistan and the United Nations, she said that the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan brought together the international community to reaffirm solidarity with the flood affected people of Pakistan. She said that there was high-level representation from a large number of countries and prominent international financial and development institutions. We are particularly grateful for the United Nations Secretary-General’s presence at the Conference, as the co-host, and becoming the voice of the flood affected people of Pakistan.

She said that at the conference, the Government of Pakistan presented its vision, plans and priorities for the post-flood recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction in the form of the Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation, And Reconstruction Framework Pakistan (4RF). Delegations reaffirmed their support for immediate relief efforts and extended their financial support for resilient recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.

She said that the conference identified the principles and action plan for Pakistan’s resilient recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Bilateral and multilateral partners committed financial support of over US$ 9.5 billion for realization of the objectives and priority areas outlined in 4RF. A number of delegations made further announcements for in-kind support. We are grateful to all our partners for the generous pledges they made at the Conference.

She said that the Conference has concluded and the real work begins. The Government of Pakistan will work with an “International Partners Support Group to Pakistan’s Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction” to develop detailed plans for specific recovery interventions and building Pakistan’s climate resilience and adaptation.

“Our immediate focus would be in preventing health crisis; mitigating the impact of this winter and the rains in the next monsoon; and restoring livelihoods. Our Long-term Resilience Framework envisages building resilience and Pakistan’s capacity to withstand future shocks. Effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms will ensure transparency in funding allocation and spending” she said.

She said that during the last week, Pakistan has participated in two high profile international events involving participation of Parliamentary leaders. National Assembly Speaker, Raja Pervez Ashraf attended the 26th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC), held in Australia from 3-6 January 2023. Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf was elected to the Standing Committee of the CSPOC from the Asia Region.

She said that Senator Nuzhat Sadiq headed the Pakistan delegation to the 13th Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) Meeting held in Turkiye on 10th January. The Conference brings together parliamentary delegations from APA member countries and provides a forum to parliamentarians to discuss and develop common strategies for promoting peace, development and cooperation in Asia. As an active member of APA, Pakistan will continue to make its contribution in strengthening dialogue among parliaments and people’s representatives.

She said that on Thursday, at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a Host Country Agreement (HCA) was signed between Pakistan and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC). The Agreement was signed by Syed Haider Shah, Additional Secretary (United Nations) on behalf of the Government of Pakistan and Hans Guttman, Executive Director of ADPC. The signing ceremony was headlined by Acting Foreign Secretary, Mohammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi.

She said that Pakistan became a founding member of ADPC when it was established in 1986. ADPC has worked with Pakistan in areas of climate resilience, mitigation and adaptation and developed projects for decarbonization. With yesterday’s agreement, the organization will be able to operate its country office in Pakistan. Going forward, we hope to further strengthen our cooperation with ADPC.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that Pakistan has strongly condemned the terrorist attack that took place in Kabul on the 11th of January. On Thursday, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari spoke on telephone with Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and extended Pakistan’s deepest sympathies and condolences, she said.

“Condemning the terrorist act in the strongest possible terms, the Foreign Minister underscored that terrorism posed a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and required a collective response. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s complete solidarity with the people of Afghanistan in countering the scourge of terrorism and underlined our deep commitment to work with Afghanistan towards regional peace and stability” she said.

While talking about the upcoming engagements, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that FM Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will attend the 53rd Annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) taking place in Davos, Switzerland from 16-20 January. Pakistan is a regular participant in WEF meetings. At the Forum, Pakistan will present its perspective on issues of global economic importance. The Foreign Minister and the Minister of State will also meet participating dignitaries including political leaders, corporate executives, heads of international organizations, and leading media and civil society personalities.

While talking about the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), FO spokesperson said that she would like to brief media on the ongoing Indian attempts to perpetuate its occupation by colonizing IIOJK, including by systematically dispossessing Kashmiris of their lands.

She said that last month, the occupying authorities introduced new land lease rules, depriving the local farmers, hoteliers, and businessmen of their long-held lands on lease. The local authorities have also intensified their campaign to seal or attach the properties of activists and resistance leaders.

She said that under the amended Land Revenue Act non-Kashmiris can purchase agricultural land for commercial and other non-agricultural purposes. The Indian Army has been given sweeping powers to take possession of agricultural land and residential areas in any part of IIOJK, after declaring them as “strategic”. Reportedly over 430,000 Kanals of land are already under illegal possession of the Indian military and paramilitary forces.

She said that these developments are yet another manifestation of India’s colonial-settler mindset and its designs to expand control over Kashmiri lands, which is a clear violation of International Law and the obligations of the occupying power towards occupied lands.