ISLAMABAD - Pakistan will participate in the Joint Military Anti-Terrorist Command and Staff Exercise to be held in Russia in August this year under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Peace Mission 2018, said Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal Thursday.
In a weekly press briefing, the spokesman said the exercise, being held in the Ural Mountains, was a regular feature to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation among the Member States.
He said Pakistan and Russia had been arranging joint military exercises “Friendship” “(DRUZHBA)” since last two years. The joint military exercises were held in Pakistan and Russia in 2016 and 2017 respectively, besides the two editions of navy exercises in 2014 and 2015.
In reference to former President Asif Zardari’s statement on Nawaz Sharif getting political asylum in UK, the spokesman said it was not obligatory on the country wherein political asylum was taken to inform the country of origin.
Asked about the update on the restrictions imposed on Pakistan’s diplomats in the US and on US diplomats in Pakistan, he said both sides were actively engaged on the matter. In his comments about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Switzerland, particularly in the context of the future of Iranian nuclear deal, he reiterated Pakistan’s stance of supporting Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and hoped that the parties to the agreement would continue their commitment to the deal.
Dr Faisal said Pakistan attached great importance to SAARC and was committed to the principles and objectives of the SAARC Charter. Pakistan looked forward to the holding of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad at the earliest which had been delayed long enough.
He said the delegates of Pakistan Chapter of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry could not attend the event due to other pressing engagements. However, deputy Secretary General from Pakistan attended the conclave. The spokesman voiced serious concern over the “relentless killing, maiming, unlawful arrests and torture” by India against the innocent civilians in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir and pointed that in June alone 33 people had been killed by the Indian Army.
He reiterated the demand for immediate establishment of Commission of Inquiry to assess the Human Rights situation in the region and said the reign of terror against the Kashmiris has become a matter of routine. He said the recommendations of the The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) need to be implemented without delay. “We urge the international community to call India to account for its grave human rights violations in IoK,” he remarked.
He said the Indian occupation forces continued to kill innocent defenseless Kashmiris with impunity. He said in June thirty – three (33) Kashmiris were martyred and at least 236 injured. Out of these, 7 youth were killed in a fake encounter in Kupwara. Faisal said those martyred included three widowed women and four children.
He said the last week was equally traumatic and tragic for Kashmiris in IoK and said the bloodthirsty Indian army and paramilitary forces killed 14-years young boy, Faizan Ahmad Khan. He said the event was all the more tragic as the hospital doctor who declared Faizan dead happened to be Faizan’s own father.
He said the injured suffered fatal and serious injuries due to indiscriminate brute force including firing of bullets, pellets, PAVA and teargas shells by Indian occupation forces. Over 176 people, including Hurriyat activists and students were arrested last month during house raids and crackdown operations, the spokesman pointed. He said Sajad Ahmad Shah and 31-year old Mudasir Ahmad Bhat in Pulwama and Kupwara were succumbed to their injuries caused by bullets, pellets and teargas shells.
The spokesman said to highlight the serious situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir a briefing for Islamabad-based Heads of Mission was held on June 27 at Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the recent Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), on the situation of human rights in Kashmir. He said the Foreign Minister Abdullah Hussain Haroon during the briefing to diplomats regretted that the fundamental human conscience had been surpassed by our more ‘practical’ interests, when it came to the human rights violations in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
“It is time for the international community to move beyond political and economic expediencies and fulfill its promises to the Kashmiri people, as per United Nations Security Council Resolutions,” the spokesman said. Mohammad Faisal said the UN report had categorically focused on the Indian atrocities in IoK and explicitly underscored India’s obligation to fulfill its commitment to International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, as well as to halt the human sufferings in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The spokesman said Pakistan has handed over a list of 471 Indian prisoners (53 civilian + 418 fishermen) held in Pakistan to the High Commission of India July 1, as per the provisions of the Consular Access Agreement between the two countries.
He said Pakistan and India, signed the agreement on May 21, 2008, under which both countries were required to exchange lists of prisoners in each other’s custody twice a year, on the first of January and July, respectively. The Indian government also handed over the list of Pakistani prisoners in Indian, to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, the spokesman said. - APP