Foreign Office spokesperson says Islamabad is continuing to urge global community to stop India’s anti-minority policies
Pakistan believes the U.S.-Taliban agreement is an historic step toward achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said on Thursday.
Addressing a weekly press briefing in Islamabad, Farooqui said the next steps were up to the Afghan government, especially with respect to the commencement of intra-Afghan dialogue. “Pakistan has played its role of facilitator and it is now the responsibility of Afghans and their representatives to take the process forward and achieve peace and stability in their country,” she added.
Referring to neighboring India, the spokesperson said Pakistan had repeatedly urged the international community, including the U.N, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation and various human rights organizations to take steps to force an end to New Delhi’s “discriminatory and anti-minority policies.”
Farooqui said last month’s violence in India’s capital, which predominately targeted Muslims, was of great concern to Pakistan and was highly condemnable. She said the world must unite in ensuring protection of minorities and their places of worships and properties in India.
Condemning reports of desecration and vandalism of places of worships in India, she said at least 14 mosques and one Dargah were reportedly burnt by Hindutva vigilantes within three or four days. She said these places were deliberately targeted, and alleged that copies of the holy Quran had also been desecrated by rioters.
On India-held Kashmir, which continues to face heavy restrictions from the government of Narendra Modi, the Foreign Office spokesperson said Jammu and Kashmir was an internationally recognized dispute and could not be dismissed as an “internal” matter, as claimed by India’s leadership. She said Pakistan had great concerns over the gross human rights violations in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and had noted the Indian government’s attempts to bring about demographic change there.
To a question, Farooqui said Pakistan has raised the issue of the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui with the U.S., adding that talks were ongoing. To another question about the deadly coronavirus sweeping the world, the spokesperson said the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan had taken all necessary steps at airports and land crossings to contain the spread of the disease. “We are also constituting a plan to see how to best protect our diplomats stationed abroad,” she added.
Pakistan has reported 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 thus far, with two of the patients having fully recovered and discharged from hospital.