ISLAMABAD - Describing the reported use of chemical weapons by the Indian occupation forces against Kashmiris in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) “a felony against humanity”, Pakistan on Thursday condemned the Indian attempts to suppress the Kashmiris.
“Indian occupation forces also reportedly used chemical weapons against Kashmiris during a recent cordon and search operation in Bandipora district,” Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said while addressing a weekly press briefing here at the Foreign Office. Highlighting the intensified Indian atrocities against innocent Kashmiris, he said the Indian occupation forces in the last two weeks, on the pretext of the increasingly frequent cordon and search operations, killed 18 Kashmiris in Srinagar, Kulgam, Bandipore, Kupwara, Sopore and Budgam areas of the IOK.
“The recent pictures and videos on social media of the Indian brutalities, unleashed on innocent Kashmiris continues to be a stark reminder of the real brutal and inhuman face of India and its occupation forces in the IOK,” he added.
The spokesman said, “Pakistan condemns the Indian attempts to suppress the Kashmiris in the IOK, including establishment of Indian occupation force camps in populated areas and continuing gross human rights violations, including destruction of property, harassment of inmates and the continuing daily violent operations in Pulwama, Shopian, Islamabad, Kulgam, Kupwara, Bandipore, Baramulla and Srinagar districts of IOK.”
He said Pakistan was also concerned at the deteriorating health of senior Hurriyet leaders including Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Masarat Alam Bhatt, Syeda Aasiya Andrabi, Nahida Nasreen, Fahmida Sofi, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Mohammad Aiyaz Akbar, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Peer Saifullah, Mehrajudin Kalwal, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Ghulam Muhammad Khan Sopori, Maulana Sarjan Barkati, Shabbir Ahmad Dar, Mushtaq-ul-Islam and hundreds of Hurriyet leaders and activists languishing in the notorious Indian Tihar Jail in New Delhi and other jails and interrogation centers in IOK. “We urge the international community, especially the champions of human rights, to urge India to immediately halt the human rights atrocities in IOK.”
To a question about Pak-India dialogue, the Foreign Minister said, “We cannot force any country to negotiate.” He recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written the first letter, to which Prime Minister Imran Khan had responded. Later, India first agreed and in less than twenty four hours, withdrew its agreement, he added.
“The only way forward, that is known to Pakistan, is through dialogue, which should be uniterrupted and uniterruptible,” he added. Regarding a question about Kartarpur Corridor, the Foreign Office Spokesman viewed that dialogue was the vital element for resolving all such issues. “In the absence of any dialogue, nothing can move forward,” he added.
The Spokesman said Pakistan did receive a letter from Sikh International Organization, “But as I said earlier, in the absence of any dialogue or negotiations, no matter can be resolved.” “We have formally announced that we are ready for a dialogue with India to settle all our disputes, but as you know it takes two hands to clap,” he remarked.
In response to a question about a recent statement of Indian Army Chief that there can be a military based action in Pakistan, the Spokesman said, “…. In the modern, interconnected world of today confrontation and conflict are not options and we believe the only forward is through cooperation not confrontation.”
“Pakistan stands by its consistent principled position of peaceful resolution of all issues, including the J&K dispute. It is up to India to respond,” he added. To a question, the Spokesman said, “We are fully prepared to defend the case of Commander Kalbhushan Jadav in the Internatinal Court of Justice, next year.”
About Pak-US relations vis a vis the visit of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshis visit to US, the Spokesman said.”The relations are moving in a positive direction. Both the Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State met twice in a month which indicates that the things are moving in the right direction.” He also shared with media some highlights of FM Qureshi’s visit to the United States including his address to UN General Assembly and his meetings with counterparts from different countries.
The Spokesman told the briefing that Pakistan had been elected for a two-year term for the period 2018-22, to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency at the 62nd Session of the Agency’s General Conference in Vienna.
To another query the Spokesman said Pakistan fully supported the policy of negotiations with Taliban, adding, “It is a shared responsibility to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table and no single country can be expected to undertake this task unilaterally.”
“Pakistan remains open to working with all partners to create an enabling environment for initiating peace talks,” he added.