Foreign Office spokesman says Delhi is the only barrier to Islamabad hosting the 19th SAARC summit
The Pakistan Foreign Office on Thursday said it was ‘surprised’ that the U.S. Department of the Treasury had failed to issue any sanctions against Indian security forces for their ongoing human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir.
Responding to a question over the blacklisting of former Karachi cop Rao Anwar over human rights abuses linked to allegedly staged police encounters that left over 400 people dead, Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal told a weekly press briefing in Islamabad that Anwar was already being tried for the crimes he had allegedly committed and the matter was sub judice.
“Given the scope of the Global Magnitsky Act, we are surprised that the Treasury Department failed to hold anyone responsible for the most egregious, extensively reported and independently verified human rights violations and abuses being perpetrated in India-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir by Indian security forces,” he said.
He also rejected India’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was approved by Parliament on Wednesday, echoing an earlier statement by Prime Minister Imran Khan that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was damaging its own state in pursuit of its Hindutva ideology. He said the legislation was a violation of human rights and would pose a serious security threat for minorities in India.
On Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s boycott of his Indian counterpart’s speech at the Heart of Asia Conference in Turkey, Faisal said this was a valid form of protest. “Pakistan will again boycott India in future, as well, whenever [it is] required,” he added.
The spokesman said Islamabad was ready to host the 19th summit of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) whenever all its components nations agreed to it. “Only one country, India, has a problem with it and let’s see if it wants to move forward or not,” he said, adding all other regional states were eager for the Summit.
Responding to another question, Faisal said Pakistan welcomed the resumption of direct negotiations between the United States and the Afghan Taliban. “Pakistan’s argument has won the day,” he said in reference to the incumbent government’s belief in a political solution to the conflict. Reacting to a recent statement by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, in which the lawmaker urged Washington to negotiate with Pakistan instead of the Taliban, he said the senator was a “friend of Pakistan, who talked about deepening and broadening of relationship between the two countries.”
Faisal also condemned the assassination of Japanese professor and physician Tetsu Nakamura, a well-regarded aid worker, in Afghanistan, saying “the towering figure contributed immensely for bringing change in lives of Afghans.” He added: “This is an act of spoilers who do not want to see peace in Afghanistan.
The spokesman confirmed that Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon visit Bahrain, adding that details would be forthcoming as they were confirmed. He also said a meeting of High Level Strategic Council in Islamabad was being planned, which would be attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.