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Pakistan refutes claims of harassment of Indian diplomats

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday rebutted claims of harassment of Indian diplomats based in Islamabad.

Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal, speaking at a weekly press briefing, said the allegations of harassment of Indian diplomats are ill-founded. “Indian diplomats are freely working in Pakistan. Pakistan respects the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” he asserted.

Speaking about Islamabad’s peace overtures, he said the country made efforts to begin talks with India on a host of issues, including the Kashmir dispute, as Prime Minister Imran Khan also wrote a letter to his Indian counterpart in this regard, but Delhi was not ready for talks.

Mr Faisal said the prime minister undertook two successful visits of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, adding that his visit to Beijing also remained very successful.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi embarked on several foreign trips in the past three months, he said and added Mr Qureshi paid a very successful visit to Kabul, Tehran, Beijing and Moscow and it would help generate consensus among all the stake holders to advance the peace process in Afghanistan.

He said the visit was essentially part of the government’s policy to strengthen relations with all neighbors and regional countries. He said the foreign minister will also visit Qatar soon.

The spokesperson said Pakistan’s longstanding position to give peace and reconciliation a real chance in Afghanistan has become the basis for an international consensus. He said recent developments in Afghanistan which include Moscow Format Consultations, Geneva conference on Afghanistan and the Abu Dhabi meeting have all led to this widely acknowledged agreement.

He said the new opening in Afghanistan and willingness of all countries who agree on Pakistan’s important role as facilitator, has provided a significant opportunity to also strengthen our bilateral relations with all the neighbors especially for promotion of trade, economic and people to people linkages.

He said this shuttle diplomacy also provided an opportunity to listen to views of the leadership in these countries for promoting a joint regional approach in Afghanistan and explore realistic possibilities of regional integration in economic terms.

The spokesperson said the purpose of the foreign minister’s whirlwind visit was two-fold including strengthening regional consensus on Afghanistan that is key for medium to long-term stability of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned solution to exploring possibilities of win-win framework for regional connectivity and economic development to help achieve the ultimate objective of economic growth and prosperity in the region.

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