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Pakistan demands Afghanistan to hand over Besham attack terrorists

Foreign Office spokesperson urges diplomatic corps to exercise caution while speaking at public events

By News Desk

May 31, 2024 12:49 PM

Pakistan demands Afghanistan to hand over Besham attack terrorists

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch

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Pakistan has demanded Afghanistan to hand over terrorists involved in Besham attack which resulted in killing of Chinese engineers, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Addressing her weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Friday, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch revealed Pakistan has shared findings of its investigation into the terror attack with the authorities in Kabul and sought their cooperation.

She said the Afghan officials have agreed to take the probe to its logical conclusion.

Pakistan Interior Secretary Muhammad Khurram Agha had visited Kabul on Thursday and held a detailed meeting with the Interim Afghan Deputy Minister for Interior, Muhammad Nabi Omari, on the special directions of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

In the meeting, which focused on the terror attack of March 26, 2024 in Besham, the secretary interior shared the findings of the Government of Pakistan into the attack and sought Afghanistan’s assistance in apprehending the perpetrators. The Afghan side reiterated its commitment to prevent the use of their soil for any terrorist activity against other countries, including Pakistan.

It may be mentioned here that five Chinese nationals and a Pakistani driver had been killed after a suicide attacker rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into their convoy near Besham city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on March 26 last. The incident had happened when the convoy was on its way from Islamabad to Dasu, the site of a key hydroelectric dam being constructed by a Chinese company, about 270km from the capital.

When asked during the briefing on Friday about British High Commissioner’s controversial statement, Mumtaz Baloch said the Pakistan government urges members of the diplomatic corps to observe caution while speaking in public events. “We propose them to keep in mind the diplomatic norms while speaking at public ceremonies,” he added.

She said she did not know if any advice was forwarded by the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

A couple of days ago, the Supr­eme Court had taken exception to remarks made by British High Commissioner Jane Marriott during a public event, in which she underlined the “importance of democracy, elections and need for open societies”.

On the instructions of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, the court’s registrar, Jazeela Aslam, wrote a letter to Ms Marriott on May 3. The letter notes that the British government expressed the need for open societies and democracy and offered criticism on the Supreme Court’s decision, through the high commissioner’s speech at the Asma Jehangir Conference on April 27, expressing the hope that “reciprocity would presumably be acceptable”.

The contents of the letter suggested that exception was taken to the Jan 13 Supreme Court judgement which ruled against allotting the election symbol, bat, to the PTI.

The registrar’s letter explained that the Elections Act of 2017 required democracy within political parties through holding of intra-party elections in order to discourage “autocracy, or even dictatorship”, within them. “The Supreme Court reiterated what the law stipulated. Therefore, the criticism with regard to this decision, with utmost respect, was unjustified,” Jazeela Aslam, the registrar, wrote in her letter.

In her speech, Ms Marriott had emphasised that democracy should never be taken for granted and that people should avoid being complacent. She then cited Foreign Secretary David Cameron’s remarks that the large turnout was in spite of concerns about fairness and inclusivity in the elections. “Not all political parties were permitted to contest the elections, legal process was used to prevent some political parties from participation and the use of recognised party symbol,” the high commissioner had said in her speech at the conference.

India must stop campaign to intimidate Kashmiris

The Foreign Office reiterated its call for India to stop its ongoing campaign to suppress political activists and intimidate the Kashmiri public in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Mumtaz Baloch said “The headquarters of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference in Srinagar also remains sealed. India must stop its ongoing campaign to suppress political activists and intimidate the Kashmiri public. The people of Jammu and Kashmir should be able to freely exercise their right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Highlighting the unabated Indian authorities’ campaign to crush dissent in IIOJK and the confiscation of properties, she told the media that earlier this week, the properties including lands and a shop of two more Kashmiri youth were sealed in Shopian District. The Indian authorities have so far seized hundreds of properties across the occupied territory to punish Kashmiri activists, she added.

The spokesperson reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to continue extending political, diplomatic, and moral support to Kashmiris for the just and peaceful settlement of the dispute as per the UN Security Council resolutions.

Azerbaijan FM visit 

She told the media that during his visit from May 29-30, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov met Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Acting President Yousuf Raza Gilani, besides holding in-depth talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar.

The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen bilateral strategic relations and broaden the scope of cooperation in all areas of mutual interests and agreed to enhance parliamentary exchanges, strengthen cultural cooperation, and promote people-to-people exchanges.

Gandhara heritage

The spokesperson mentioned a symposium held by the foreign ministry in connection with Vesak Day that brought together foreign delegates, including at the ministerial level, prominent Buddhist monks, and scholars on Buddhism and interfaith understanding.

Besides showcasing Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage, the event explored the dimensions of Gandharan Heritage that emerged over 3,000 years ago in Northwest Pakistan, the importance of building bridges and understanding between different communities.

Pakistan-Greece consultations 

Spokesperson Baloch highlighted the fourth round of Pakistan-Greece Bilateral Political Consultations held on May 29 in Athens, and the sixth round of Pakistan-Hungary Bilateral Political Consultations on May 27 in Budapest. During the meetings, the respective sides agreed to further advancing high-level dialogue and cooperation, and work together on maintaining a positive trajectory in bilateral ties.

Pakistan and St Lucia 

She told the media that on May 29, Pakistan and St. Lucia formally established diplomatic ties at a ceremony in New York. The joint communique was signed by Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Munir Akram, and his counterpart from St. Lucia.

“Over the last three years, Pakistan has established diplomatic relations with Palau, Kiribati, the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, and the Commonwealth of Dominica. This decision reflects Pakistan’s firm commitment to enhance its diplomatic outreach and expand cooperation with countries around the globe,” the spokesperson remarked.

PM’s official visit to China 

Spokesperson Baloch announced that at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif will undertake an official visit to China from June 4-8.

In Beijing, he will meet President Xi and hold delegation-level talks with Premier Li, besides meeting with Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and heads of key government departments. The prime minister will also visit the cities of Xi’an and Shenzhen.

An important aspect of Prime Minister Shehbaz’s visit will be meetings with corporate executives of leading Chinese companies dealing in oil and gas, energy, ICT, and emerging technologies.

In Shenzhen, he will address the Pakistan-China Business Forum with leading businesspersons, entrepreneurs, and investors from both countries. He will also visit economic and agricultural zones in China.


Reporter Anwar Abbas

News Desk

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