Bilawal to attend SCO meeting amid Pakistan’s demand for resolution of Kashmir dispute; Mumtaz

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ISLAMABAD, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will undertake the visit to Goa, India, on May 4 to attend the meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) amid insistence from Pakistan that India should take steps to create an environment which facilitate peace and dialogue on outstanding disputes, especially the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir

Speaking at the weekly press briefing, the Foreign Office Spokesperson said, “The visit is taking place because Pakistan is an active member of the SCO and the foreign minister has to represent Pakistan in the SCO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Any activities of the foreign minister during his visit to Goa will be in the context of SCO.”

“Pakistan’s voice must be heard in the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of SCO. I reiterate that this visit is taking place in the context of SCO and it is not a bilateral visit and any other noise that accompanies the visit of the foreign minister must be ignored, because that’s just noise and has no bearing on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its proceedings,” she added.

The spokesperson stressed that Pakistan would continue to raise its voice against grave and systematic human rights violations in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

“We will also continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters for the just and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.”

She said in the IIOJK, the human rights violations continued unabated. “For the fourth consecutive year, the Indian authorities prevented Kashmiris from attending the congregational Eid prayers at Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid. Earlier, the occupation authorities had imposed curbs and restrictions on the freedom of religion during the Holy Month of Ramazan as well. We urge the Indian authorities to bring an end to the restrictions imposed on Kashmiris that prevent them from freely practicing their religion.”

Last week, she added, around 40 individuals, including women, were arbitrarily arrested in the so-called cordon-and-search operations. The Indian authorities also attached the properties of two pro-freedom Kashmiris, Syed Shakeel Yousuf and Syed Shahid Yousuf who remained in arbitrary detention. The NGO office of another detainee and a prominent human rights defender, Khurram Pervez, was raided in Budgam.

She said, “We are gravely concerned over these developments. These acts reflect a consistent Indian strategy to suppress the fundamental freedoms in the occupied territory and terrorize the local population.”

The spokesperson said, “We have said repeatedly that Pakistan wishes to have peace in the region. We would like to have peace and amity with all our neighbours, including India. Pakistan believes that following the events of 2019 and India’s belligerent posture in the region the situation for peace and dialogue have been compromised.”

Regarding the questions about statements of Indian officials, she said, “Pakistan is a victim of terrorism. We have suffered as a result of terrorism for the last several decades. In this context, we have presented to the international community undeniable evidence of Indian involvement in terrorist incidents inside Pakistani territory.”

Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, she added, was the mastermind of espionage and terrorist activities inside Pakistan. His activities were a testimony of India’s irrefutable involvement in terrorism inside Pakistan.

To a question about Sudan, she said on Friday morning an aircraft carrying 149 Pakistani nationals evacuated from Sudan arrived in Karachi. Two other flights carrying around 200 Pakistanis were expected to arrive later today. One of them originated from Port Sudan and the other from Jeddah to bring back Pakistanis who had earlier been evacuated there.

“We remain engaged with friendly countries in the region and are especially grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for facilitating this process by providing transport by ferry from Port Sudan to Jeddah and also for hosting Pakistani nationals until their repatriation to Pakistan,” she added.