151 days on, Pakistan asks India to lift military, communication lockdown in IOJK


ISLAMABAD, Jan 2 (DNA):As the curfew in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) enters 151 days, Pakistan on Thursday reiterated its call to the Indian government to remove military and communication blackout and allow media and human rights observers there to see the situation.

“Today is the 151st day of the humanitarian nightmare in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It is characterized by continued military lockdown and a complete communication block out,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said in her maiden weekly press briefing here after assuming the office.

She reiterated Pakistan’s call for the Indian government to immediately restore the internet and mobile phone service and release all prisoners especially the civil society members and abducted young children.

The spokesperson also asked the Indian government to remove Public Safety Act and allow the independent media and international human rights observers to independently visit the region and observe the situation in Kashmir.

In her briefing what also happened to be the first one of the new year 2020, the spokesperson also gave an overview of the foreign policy developments made during last year.

“Throughout the year 2019, Pakistan’s foreign policy made significant strides on multiple tracks. New partnerships were forged and historic and time tested relations were further fortified,” she remarked.

She said Prime Minister Imran Khan made a landmark speech at the United Nations General Assembly and met world leaders on the sidelines to highlight the Indian atrocities in IOJK particularly in the aftermath of the Indian unilateral actions on August 5, 2019.

She said the Chinese partnership during last year had increased as the prime minister made two visits to China in April and October with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor also advancing apace.

She said Pakistan’s efforts for regional peace and stability had been continuing, be it Kashmir, Afghanistan or among the different countries.

During the previous year, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also maintained dynamic engagements with his counterparts and recalled the different moots hosted by Pakistan or attended by the foreign minister abroad to discuss Afghanistan and the regional peace and developments.

She said consequent to Pakistan’s efforts, the United Nations Security Council held a special session to discuss Kashmir what was in fact the recognition of Pakistan’s stance of it being a disputed territory.

She said in a year, the foreign minister had written seven letters to the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, UN Human Rights Council on the evolving situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, besides the special meeting of the OIC Contact Group held on the issue.

She said Pakistan continued its positive contribution to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan which was also acknowledged by the world.

The spokesperson said 2019 had been a busy year concerning the visits of the foreign dignitaries as the country hosted the Emir of Qatar, Afghan president, Malaysian prime minister, crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, British Royal Couple, Queen Maxima, vice presidents of Cuba and European Union and president of UN General Assembly which were the testimony of Pakistan’s active engagement with world community.

She said the consequences of Pakistan’s efforts to highlight the Indian atrocities in IOJK were unfolding as the developments taking place in Kashmir were the center of world attention and the global community was awakened to what was happening there.

She told media that the US Congress had held two successive hearings on Kashmir while 80 parliamentarians raised voice on the issue. Moreover, the issue was also raised and Indian atrocities condemned in the parliaments of UK, EU, France and Iran.

She also recalled the prime minister’s address at Global Refugee Forum in Geneva warning the world community of imminent danger posed by the refugee crisis due to the demographic changes engineered in the IOJK following the Indian unilateral actions.

Mentioning the special flight arranged to bring Pakistani immigrants from Malaysia on Tuesday, she said so far around 8000 Pakistanis had returned availing the amnesty scheme.

She said the second phase of Pak-China Free Trade Agreement had started under which China would abolish duties on 313 products mostly related to textile, seafood and meat.

To a question, she said the foreign minister level meeting of the OIC was scheduled in April and Pakistan had offered to host the session.