Pakistan ‘in constant touch’ with Afghanistan over terror resurgence, cross-border violence.

The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday said that Pakistan is ‘in constant touch’ with the interim government of Afghanistan regarding the resurgence of terrorist incidents and cross-border violence.

“We have agreed to continue established institutional mechanism with Afghanistan to prevent such incidents,” FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said at a weekly press briefing, in response to a question on the clashes between the security forces of Pakistan and Afghanistan in the Chaman-Spin Boldak area.

The spokesperson said Pakistan had reiterated to the Afghan authorities that the protection of civilians was the responsibility of both sides.

“Pakistan remains committed to maintaining its fraternal relations with Afghanistan and ensuring that peace is maintained,” she said.

She mentioned that Pakistan continued to engage with international players including Afghanistan to ensure that terrorism emanating from Afghan soil could not affect it.

The spokesperson hoped that the Afghan authorities would work towards fulfilling the commitments made to Pakistan to not allow their territory to be used against its neighbour.

When asked if Pakistan was using China’s leverage to counter Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the backdrop of the country’s engagement with Afghanistan, Baloch said Pakistan and China were close strategic partners and “consult each other on all matters of interest including counter-terrorism and the situation in Afghanistan”.

To a question about the number of foreign visits by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto after assuming office, she shared a list of the countries — Saudi Arabia (twice), United Arab Emirates (twice), United States (thrice), China (twice), Switzerland, Iran, Uzbekistan (twice), Cambodia, Uzbekistan, Germany, Egypt, Indonesia and Singapore.

In response to the delay in the disbursement of salaries to Pakistan’s missions abroad, the spokesperson said the process that faced suspension due to a “very complicated” issue pertaining to the Ministry of Finance, the State Bank, and the international channels had been restored. “Soon all the missions will have their requisite funds,” she said.

When asked for an update on the status of Indian Navy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav who is serving a death sentence in Pakistan, she said, “there is no change in the status”.

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This week, the spokesperson said, Pakistan would host Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Serik Zhumangarin, who will lead a high-level delegation for the Pakistan-Kazakhstan Intergovernmental Joint Commission (IJC) – an important mechanism to promote mutually beneficial cooperation.

The meeting will focus on cooperation in trade and investment, agriculture, energy, transport and industry, science and technology, banking, higher education, and tourism, she said.

The FO spokesperson said last week that the Indian delegation once again politicised an international forum to project its agenda to target and malign Pakistan.

For the last several years, India politicised the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) process to prevent Pakistan’s exit from the grey list and is following a similar agenda at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), she added.

“For a country that has a grandiose vision about itself and its place in the world, India has been unable to act as a responsible member of the international community that can assume new privileges that it aspires,” she said.

Baloch added India masqueraded itself as a victim of terrorism, yet it is itself a perpetrator of repression in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and a sponsor and financier of terrorist groups in South Asia, including Pakistan.

“We are concerned about the rise of extremist nationalism in India and its expansionist designs for the region. We still await condemnation from the Indian leadership on the recent call for violence and assassination by a BJP leader from Bhagpat,” she said.

The spokesperson said the occupation authorities were sealing properties owned by Kashmiris including those dedicated to educational institutions offering free education to disadvantaged Kashmiris. A property owned by the late Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Shah Gillani, located in Barzulla Srinagar, has also been designated for closure.

“India must be held accountable for these grave injustices. The only way to lasting peace in South Asia is by granting the people of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” she stressed.

December 22, 2022

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