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Pakistan expresses desire to hold SAARC Summit earlier than due date

Pakistan has expressed the desire for an early holding of SAARC Summit to promote regional cooperation.

At his weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said all the other South Asian countries except one have also expressed the desire of early happening of the summit.

Read More: ‘SAARC Charter Day’ reminds us of duty to fight poverty, illiteracy: PM Imran

He said the 19th SAARC summit will be held in Islamabad and it is to be seen whether India wants to move forward on SAARC.

When asked about the contentious Indian citizenship legislation, the spokesperson said Pakistan and other regional countries have condemned it. He said this act of India is driven by a toxic mix of extremist Hindutva ideology and hegemonic ambitions in the region. He noted that voices are also being raised within and outside India against the discriminatory legislation.

Voicing concerns over the situation in occupied Kashmir, Dr Muhammad Faisal said the humanitarian nightmare is worsening in the valley with continued military lockdown and complete communications blackout. This, he said, is affecting the life and property of millions of Kashmiri people who have been cut off from the rest of the world.

Read More: SAARC member states decide to hold summit in Islamabad: FM Qureshi

Dr Muhammad Faisal said India should immediately restore internet and mobile phone services, release all the prisoners and remove all the draconian laws. He said India should allow international media and human rights observers to visit Occupied Kashmir to independently observe the situation there.

When asked about the blacklisting of former Malir SSP Rao Anwar by the US, the spokesperson said Rao Anwar is under trial for the crime he has committed. He, however expressed his surprise that the US treasury department failed to hold anyone responsible for the most egregious, extensively reported and independently verified human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

Responding to a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan has welcomed the resumption of direct talks between the United States and the Afghan Taliban.  He said Pakistan has always held that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. We hope the peace process is concluded soon and leads to an intra-afghan dialogue and reduction of violence in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan will continue to support all peaceful efforts there.  He however said it is important to remain watchful of the role of spoilers who do not want to see an end to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Read More: Pakistan reaffirms resolve to fight poverty, illiteracy and disease under SAARC

The spokesperson strongly denounced the assassination of Japanese physician and devoted aid worker Tetsu Nakamura in Afghanistan.  He said Nakamura changed the lives of thousands of Afghan people and his work has been recognized internationally. He said we share the grief and pain of the Afghan and Japanese people in this tragic incident. He said at this critical juncture, it can only be the work of spoilers who do not want to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

When asked about Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the spokesperson said it was a scheduled visit and focused on bilateral matters and regional developments. He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have brotherly relations deep rooted in history and based on mutual trust and understanding.

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