Will continue to support Kashmiris: Pak foreign minister

ISLAMABAD: 01 Jun 2018

Pakistan today accused India of escalating ceasefire violations at the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, and said it will continue to support the Kashmiri people.

Pakistan’s outgoing foreign minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, who also holds the Defense portfolio, said that the eastern neighbour will have to “abandon negative approaches, and concede to the logic of unconditional dialogue.”

Talking to reporters on the five-year performance report of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party government, which completed its term today, he said Pakistan highlighted and forcefully put the Kashmir issue at every forum and platform, particularly at the UN General Assembly.

He accused India of disrupting the Indus Water Treaty and escalating violations of ceasefire at the Line of Control and Working Boundary.

He said that on the regional plane, Saarc summit was impeded from going ahead.

The SAARC summit was scheduled to be held in Islamabad in 2016, but it was cancelled after India boycotted the meet following an attack on an Indian Armycamp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, in which 17 jawans were killed and severa others injured. SAARC summits have not been held since 2016, as India argues that the summit cannot be held unless Pakistan takes action against terror outfits operating out of its soil.

Khan claimed that the arrest and confession of Indian prisoner Khulbhushan Jadhav has beyond “an iota of doubt proven India’s reprehensible designs to subvert Pakistan.”

On Afghanistan, he said Pakistan would continue to lend all possible support to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of peace and reconciliation. He also welcomed the Afghanistan government’s unconditional offer of talks to the Taliban.

The minister also shared five-year performance report called “Pakistan’s Foreign Policy – 2013-2018: Challenges, Successes and Future Direction”.

He said in the past five years, Pakistan had faced with numerous challenges emanating from a difficult strategic environment, unprecedented flux in the geopolitical context, and its fight against terrorism and extremism.

“We have navigated successfully through turbulent waters, and have achieved measurable success through a ‘regional recalibration’ of our foreign policy,” he said.

Khan said that first under former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and later under Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi, the PML-N government endeavoured to forge closer and better relations with countries in the neighbourhood, and the world at large.
He said the launch and quick progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, has been a landmark achievement. “It is a measure of success of our foreign policy that we are now poised to translate our geo-strategic location into a geo economic asset,” he said.

He said the PML-N government delivered on all fronts in five years and the country emerged from the dark period of terrorism, crippling energy shortages, and a regressing economy into a peaceful, economically vibrant, energy-sufficient and globally-connected nation.

On Pakistan’s strained ties with the US, he said, “the new US policy on Afghanistan and South Asia has created an “unnecessary” divergence, which is based largely on perceptions rather than facts.( PTI )