India urged to immediately lift restrictions in Kashmir - GulfToday

India urged to immediately lift restrictions in Kashmir

Arif-Alvi

Arif Alvi. File

Pakistan’s president has called on India to immediately lift all restrictions on people in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, ignoring opposition calls for Prime Minister Imran Khan to step down over his alleged bad governance.

In Thursday’s speech in parliament, Arif Alvi condemned continued human rights violations in Kashmir.

The speech comes weeks after India downgraded the special status of Kashmir, drawing nationwide rallies in this Islamic nation.

It also comes a day before Imran was scheduled to address a rally in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) to express solidarity with people in Kashmir, which is divided between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.

Imran is currently under pressure by the opposition to quit for failing to improve the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office (FO) said that no backdoor talks are taking place between Pakistan and India.

At his weekly news briefing on Thursday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said there are repeated offers of mediation from different countries on Kashmir dispute but India is not agreeing to it.

The spokesperson reminded that it was a considered view and policy of Pakistan that all matters can only be resolved through negotiations.

Regarding the joint statement signed by different countries at UN Human Rights Council meeting, the spokesperson said this represents the growing international disapproval of Indian illegal and unilateral actions in Kashmir. He said there is global demand now for lifting of lockdown and all sorts of restrictions in the valley.

The spokesperson said India should stop misleading the international community and respect the right of self-determination of Kashmiri people.

When asked about the recent visits of the foreign ministers of UAE and Saudi Arabia, the spokesperson said the ministers during their interaction with Pakistani leadership reiterated their countries’ solidarity with Pakistan and support for Kashmir cause.

The spokesperson said that Imran will give a policy statement on Kashmir during a public gathering in Muzaffarabad. He said Pakistan is considering several measures in support of Kashmiri brethern.

To a question, Faisal clarified that Pakistan is not charging any amount from Sikh pilgrims for entrance into Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.

He said the $20 fee is only for facilities being constructed in Kartarpur and it only meets ten to fifteen per cent of the total construction cost.

When asked about the suspension of peace talks between the US and the Taliban, the spokesperson urged all the parties to return to the table of negotiations to take the progress achieved so far in the talks to its logical conclusion. He said Pakistan wants all the sides to exercise restraint and refrain from violence. He said we have encouraged and facilitated the Afghan peace process in good faith and as a shared responsibility.

He said Pakistan has always maintained that Afghan solution lies only in a politically-negotiated settlement led and owned by the Afghans themselves.

He said a military focused approach has failed to render the desired results. He said Pakistan is hopeful about the resumption of peace talks between the US and the Taliban and that the process will lead to intra Afghan negotiations which are imperative for durable and sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

Responding to a question about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plans to annex large parts of occupied West Bank, the spokesperson said Pakistan rejects any such move.

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s solidarity with Palestinian people. He said Pakistan reiterates its support for a viable, independent and contiguous state of Palestine with Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital.

He also made it clear that Pakistan is not taking any step to recognise Israel.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated that Pakistan will continue to raise voice for the rights of Kashmiri people at every forum. He was speaking to the people at Islamabad airport on his return from a three-day successful visit to Geneva where he apprised the UN Human Rights Council of blatant Indian human rights violations in Kashmir.

Agencies