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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday rejected the false and baseless media reports claiming that Saudi Arabia voted against Pakistan in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), saying that the global forum will announce its assessment on the country's progress on the Action Plan at conclusion of its virtual plenary meeting to be concluded today.

In his weekly media briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri categorically rejected the story as 'false and baseless' circulating on segment of the media regarding role of Saudi Arabia in assessment of Pakistan's FATF Action Plan.

"Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy strong fraternal ties and the two countries have always cooperated with each other on all matters of bilateral, regional and international importance," the spokesperson said, adding that Pakistan greatly values its relations with the brotherly Saudi Arabia and firmly rejects such malicious propaganda.

He said the FATF would announce its assessment of Pakistan's progress on the Action Plan and the future course of action, after conclusion of its virtual plenary meeting being held from Oct 21-23.

Responding to provoking statements by certain Indian leaders, the spokesperson warned India of a strong response against any of its aggression, saying: "any misadventure by India in Gilgit-Baltistan or Azad Jammu and Kashmir will invite a full spectrum response by Pakistan".

"The Indian leadership must not underestimate the resolve of Pakistani nation as well as the capacity, professionalism and the level of preparedness of our battle hardened Armed Forces. The entire nation stands absolutely united against any ill designs by India," he asserted.

He emphasized that there was also a need for the Indian leadership to be mindful of their defense limitations that were so embarrassingly exposed first in Balakot and more recently in Ladhakh.

"In response to such belligerent provocative rhetoric, I can only say, that in case of any misadventure by India, Pakistan's actions will speak louder than India['s] words," he warned.

He added that India, like Pakistan, is a developing country with multiple developmental challenges. The problem, however, is that India has delusionally conferred upon itself the title of regional hegemon, he said.

According to certain reports, he added that more the 800 million people in India were considered poor, the largest number of poor people anywhere in the world.

"Rather than blindly pursuing its dangerous strategic ambitions, India needs to focus on the socio-economic uplift of its people. Therefore, our advice to India would be to peacefully resolve disputes with the neighbours, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, for lasting peace in South Asia," he asserted.

Responding to another query, he referred to the malicious and fabricated news reports and propaganda campaign in some sections of the Indian mainstream and social media, planting baseless stories about Pakistan.

"Such attempts by the Indian media on the behest of the Pakistan-obsessed BJP-RSS regime are reflective of a particular, though familiar, mindset. Needless to say that Indian media continues to hit new lows," he remarked.

He said that India cannot wash away the truth about its own gross and systematic human rights violations in the IIOJK and unabated anti-minorities policies and actions through peddling fake news and running its propaganda machinery overtime.

He said the Indian government and media were better advised to focus on the protests and unrest currently underway in India, in the aftermath of the RSS-inspired BJP regime's discriminatory policies deliberately targeting minorities.

Responding to a query about involvement of a number of Indian banks in money laundering, he hoped that the FATF in its next year review of India will take into account the reports of Indian banks' involvement in money laundering.

To another question about the political situation in the country in wake of the opposition parties' anti-government drive, he said that it was part of the democratic process.

About the recent visit of Hizb-e-Islami's leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to Pakistan, he said that the visit held in the context of Pakistan's outreach to various stakeholders in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan would continue to reach out to different stakeholders in Afghanistan to advance the peace process.

To another query about the government of Pakistan's letter to British authorities for repatriation of former premier Nawaz Sharif, the spokesperson did not give further details saying that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivers the documents as received.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020