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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office, on Thursday, confirmed that Pakistan has denied permission of its airspace for flights between occupied Srinagar and Sharjah, saying India is in illegal occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an internationally-recognised disputed territory, and its disputed status is clearly articulated in the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.

Responding to media queries during his weekly briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said that Pakistan continues to sensitise "our friends" and remain in touch with them.

"The over flight permission for such flights [Srinagar-Sharjah] has been denied," he said, adding that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would have technical details.

He added that there are various aspects to the issue and the concerned authorities are fully seized of it. "For us, it suffices to note that India is in illegal occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally-recognised disputed territory, and its disputed status is clearly articulated in the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.

As a long outstanding dispute, it remains on the agenda of the UN Security Council pending its resolution and final disposition in accordance with UNSC resolutions," he added. The IIOJK government and the UAE have recently signed an agreement for the Emirati investment in the occupied valley, besides the launch of Srinagar-Sharjah flights.

To another question, if there was any amendment being made in the existing understanding with the US with regard to air and ground lines of communications (ALOCs) and (GLOCs), the spokesperson said that the matter was also clarified previously, adding that "there is a new situation on ground in Afghanistan that means a different context in which things have to be seen."

Responding another query about Pakistan's measures undertaken to comply with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan despite politicising the process by some member states, he said that there are concerns about politicisation by some countries, which is not consistent with the technical nature of the issues discussed in this forum.

"Irrespective of that, the fact is that Pakistan has effectively implemented the action plan of 2018 and has already made significant progress in complying with the 2021 action plan, and this progress has been acknowledged by a large majority of members as well as the FATF Presidency. We remain actively engaged with strong political commitment to comply with the requirements," he added.

When asked to comment on the "double standards" of the UN about two terrorist organisations - RSS and Shiv Sena - are working openly in India, he said that apparently the sanctions regime under which entities are listed under the relevant UNSC resolutions is somewhat restricted.

"There may be a need to review that to enable the international community to take a more holistic approach of the terrorist threats around the world...as regard the two specific organizations - there must be spotlight on them and ways to hold them accountable for their actions," he added.

Commenting the reports about Israel and US naval ships entry into the Persian Gulf Region for a possible preparation for a likely attack on Iran, he said that as a matter of policy, Pakistan wants peace and stability to be maintained in the neighbourhood and the wider region.

"In line with that we do not support any steps that could escalate tensions and destabilize the region," he added.

About the recent bomb attack in Kabul, he said that it is a matter of common concern and we understand that would be a concern in the first place for the new authorities in Kabul as well.

He said that there is expectation not only from Pakistan but also from the international community that the threat of terrorism from Afghanistan needs to be tackled effectively and we hope steps will be taken in this regard.

"There are spoilers both inside and outside Afghanistan and that is why besides the internal actions in Afghanistan, a regional approach and consensus and cooperative frameworks are essential to more comprehensively tackle this problem for durable peace in Afghanistan," he added.

About the cross-border attacks from Afghanistan, he said that this is a serious matter, adding that Pakistan has been raising this concern with the previous governments and "if the situation persists, we will naturally continue to take this up with the new authorities."

"We believe that it is in the interest of both Pakistan and Afghanistan that these elements are effectively taken care of," he added.

About the situation in the IIOJK, he said that India is trying to portray a false sense of normalcy in the occupied valley to mislead the international community, adding that India has deployed over 900,000 troops, turning the IIOJK into one of the heavily militarised zones in the world.

He said India will not succeed in its designs to mislead the world about the grave human rights violation in the IIOJK.

To another question, he said Pakistan is politically committed to its initiative of opening up the Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate Sikh people to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, visa free.

He said it is the India, which has stopped Sikh pilgrims to visit the Gurdwara. He, however, hoped that the corridor will soon be resumed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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