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Jun 07, 2020 PRINT EDITION

Pakistan says no intention to join arms race but firm to fight aggression

 Pakistan says it has no intention to join arms race in the region. 
 Pakistan warns to respond with full force i
Updated October 10, 2019
  • Pakistan says it has no intention to join arms race in the region.
  • Pakistan warns to respond with full force in case of any external threat against its sovereignty.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said it had no intention to join arms race in the region, however warned to respond with full force in case of any external threat against its sovereignty.

"Pakistan is not willing to be part of arms race, unless it is compelled to take steps for its defence," the Foreign Office spokesman said at a weekly press briefing, in response to a query on handing over of recent batch of Rafale fighter jets by France to India.  Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal called upon the world not to push the region towards freaking competition of buying arms, adding that the main focus of Pakistan government was development of its education and health sectors.

He said any country with nefarious designs against Pakistan, should be mindful of the befitting response by its air force on February 26, when it downed two Indian fighter aircraft on violation of air space.  "We know how to defend ourselves, may it is Rafale on the other end or whatsoever," he said.

On Kartarpur Corridor, he said the project was expected to be completed as per schedule time, with work underway on fast pace, adding the date of opening was yet to be finalized.

He mentioned that the opening would be on time as committed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding that formal invitation had been sent to former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh to attend the birth anniversary celebrations of founder of Sikhism Baba Guru Nanak.

To a question if Prime Minister Imran Khan was going to visit Saudi Arabia and Iran, the spokesman said "the possibility of the visit to both countries was on the cards."

On Pakistan's expectations out of the upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India, he said since it was a bilateral matter, he would not comment on the issue.

China has already stated its clear position through a joint communique during the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Beijing, he said when asked in reference of the visit's significance regarding Kashmir issue.

Dr Faisal said as Indian atrocities in Occupied Kashmir continued, Pakistan was making efforts to highlight the issue on every international avenue and forum.

"This is a persistent and consistent pattern of efforts, and Pakistan will never inch back from raising voice for the eight million Kashmiris who have been confined under continuous communication lockdown and curfew," he said.

The spokesman said Pakistan's diplomatic efforts had cornered India, that had no way left to justify its wrongs in the Valley.

On prospects of resumption of the stalled process of SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation), he said dates were being worked out after the Indian objection was vacated, raised during the SAARC ministerial council of foreign ministers' consultative meeting, held on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly.

The spokesman said Pakistan appreciated Turkey's role in finding a viable solution to the conflict in Syria and acknowledged its humanitarian efforts of hosting 3.5 million Syrian refugees on its soil.

He said Pakistan recognized Turkey's legitimate security concerns in the region and stressed that a political solution to the Syrian conflict be reached at the earliest, taking into account concerns of all regional stakeholders.

On reports of blocking the nomination of Saad Khattak as High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, he declined to comment on what was discussed in the Cabinet meeting.

"As far as the ambassadorial postings are concerned, these are made by following a well-established set of procedure," he stressed.