ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday urged the interim Afghan government to help address the challenge of terrorism. Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson
Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Pakistan “expects sincere cooperation from the Afghan interim government to address the challenge of terrorism and hopes that Afghanistan will live up its commitments made with the international community and Pakistan in this regard.” She contended that terrorism was a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and “we must take a strong stand against such entities that use violence against innocent citizens and law enforcement agencies.” The spokesperson expressed Pakistan’s resolve to root out the evil of terrorism and safeguard the security of every citizen. “We do not believe in accusations or finger pointing. However, we would reiterate our expectations that no country should allow its territory to be used for perpetrating terrorism against Pakistan. It is time that the commitments made to the world are fulfilled with sincerity and in good faith actions,” she added. The spokesperson said Pakistan had a foreign policy that prioritizes developing good relations with all countries.
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“We have constructive dialogue with all countries, including Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union, and our neighbours. The bilateral relations with Russia, including economic cooperation, will further deepen in future,” she said. Baloch informed that Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will undertake a two-day visit to Sri Lanka from today (February 3). She said that the Minister of State will participate in the 75th Independence Day of Sri Lanka as a Guest of Honour. In addition to attending the Independence Day events, she will call on the Sri Lankan leadership and hold a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka. Baloch said Pakistan and Sri Lanka have historic ties that have grown steadily in all aspects of bilateral cooperation. “We also have worked closely in multilateral forums including SAARC. The visit of the Minister of State would contribute to enhanced understanding between the two countries and signal Pakistan’s support for Sri Lanka in a difficult time,” she added.
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She said the Kashmir Solidarity Day will be observed on 5th February 2023. “Like every year, the Pakistani nation will express its unwavering solidarity with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their just struggle for realization of their Right to Self-determination. The Day will be observed with traditional zeal and fervor by all sections of society in Pakistan and by the Pakistani and Kashmiri Diaspora around the world,” she elaborated. She added: “We believe that durable peace, security and development in the region hinges on peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. It is imperative that the Kashmiris exercise their right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations.” Pakistan, the spokesperson said, will continue to extend all possible support to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters towards a just and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions. She said Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was currently in Washington DC from 1-3 February 2023 to attend the National Prayer Breakfast which brings together US and international leaders for a discourse on contemporary issues. She said Pakistan has strongly condemned Israel’s brutal attack on the city and camp of Jenin in the State of Palestine, killing several innocent Palestinians.
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Pakistan, she said, supports the Palestinian demand for a viable, independent and contiguous Palestinian State, with pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, in accordance with the relevant United Nations and OIC resolutions. Baloch said Pakistan was concerned about the growing Islamophobia around the world as the freedom of expression is being blatantly abused to spread religious hatred and incitement to violence against Muslim minorities.