Tariq Ullah Wardak
ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office Thursday strongly dismissed a recent statement by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism and said the attempt was meant to divert world’s attention from the ongoing human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with US Vice President in Singapore Wednesday had said, “All the leads in global terror attacks ultimately lead to a single source – Pakistan, which was also politically mainstreaming the people involved in terrorist activities,” as was quoted by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.
Foreign Office Spokesman Muhammad Faisal, at a weekly briefing, said India was habitual of blaming Pakistan rather than positively responding to the latter’s offer for negotiations.
“India should refrain from doing this and instead should work on the better option (negotiations),” the spokesman said in reference to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s letter to his Indian counterpart, proposing resumption of bilateral dialogue and discussion on all outstanding issues.
He confirmed that the body of slain SP Tahir Khan Dawar was still not handed over to Pakistan, to which strong protest was registered with the Afghan authorities.
He said Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul and the consulate in Jalalabad were constantly in touch with the Afghan Foreign Ministry for the early recovery of body and its transfer to Pakistan.
To a question on Asia Bibi, the Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy, the spokesman said she was still in Pakistan “alive and safe”.
On reasons of US Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad putting off his upcoming visit to Pakistan, he said the Foreign Office was in touch with the US authorities for the finalization of dates.
However, he said Pakistan’s relations with the US were beyond the framework of Afghan reconciliation.
On Moscow format, he said Pakistan as a policy was successfully engaged in efforts to ensure Afghan peace and believed that the forum with regional countries would help resume stability of the war-torn country.
He said military-focused strategy could not be successful in Afghanistan and the conflict required a political Afghan-led and Afghan-owned solution.
He mentioned the recent report by Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs with its key finding that around 500,700 were killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan in terror-related incidents since 2011 and also identified Pakistan as the worst victim.
On repatriation of Afghan refugees, he said the process at present was suspended due to winter season in both countries.
He said the repatriation process would resume in March and the SAFRON ministry was working on the issue.
On crackdown by China separating Pakistani men from their Uygur wives, the spokesman said the Foreign Office was in touch with Chinese authorities to resolve the issue.
On the government’s efforts for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui from the US prison, the spokesman said the matter was consistently being raised with the US focusing her legal rights during detention.
He said the consulate general in Houston paid regular visits to Dr Aafia, making around 12 visits in three years.