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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will pay a three-day visit to China from February 3 to 5, to attend the opening ceremony of Winter Olympics Games in Beijing 2022, besides holding interaction with the Chinese leadership on issues of mutual interest.

Speaking at his weekly media briefing on Thursday, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said being held at the invitation of the Chinese leadership, the prime minister during his visit will also have interaction with the Chinese leadership to further strengthen Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and will exchange views on regional and international issues.

“Pakistan looks forward to the successful Winter Olympics in Beijing,” he further stated. As the 2022 Winter Olympics Games near, several countries, including the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, and Lithuania, have announced a diplomatic boycott of the event a response to concerns about China’s alleged human rights practices against Uyghur Muslims.

Responding to a question, the spokesperson stated that Pakistan welcomes the Global Development Initiative (GDI) put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping as a timely and good intention step to facilitate implementation of the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

He said that the DGI will help promote international cooperation required to overcome the challenges faced by the world including Covid-19, related economic crisis and climate change.

“The GDI will open up new avenues of collaboration with developing countries in support of their post-pandemic economic recovery as well as long-term sustainable growth,” he said, adding that Pakistan and China are strong development partners and “we look forward to further strengthen this partnership under China’s Global Development Initiative.”

UN wants $5bn aid for Afghanistan in 2022

In response to another question about India’s provocative postures, the spokesperson cautioned that there is a real possibility that India may stage another “false flag operation” to complicate the current situation.

“We continue to alert our friends in international community about this prospect,” he added.

He also called upon the international community to take immediate notice of the Indian state-terrorism in the IIOJK and hold India accountable for the egregious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the occupied valley. “India must allow unhindered access to international human rights and humanitarian organizations to conduct independent investigations in the IIOJK,” he added.

Commenting on the Indian Army Chief’s baseless allegations, the spokesperson said that Pakistan categorically rejects the Indian Army Chief’s fallacious comments made at a press conference, insinuating the presence of so-called “launch pads” and “training” camps across the Line of Control (LoC).

“There is nothing new about the Indian General’s unfounded allegations, as these are a part of the malicious anti-Pakistan propaganda being pedaled by the BJP-RSS combine at the helm in India. The Indian government is driven by its belligerent and expansionist agenda embedded in the delusional notion of “Akhand Bharat”, which poses a grave threat to regional peace,” he added.

He said that the Indian Army Chief has made a desperate attempt at diverting global attention from India’s state-terrorism and egregious human rights violations, which continue unabated in the IIOJK.

“Pakistan calls on India to forthwith halt its tyranny in the IIOJK, renounce its campaign of persecution of Kashmiris, and let them exercise their right to self-determination as promised to them under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.

At the same time, the spokesperson said that Pakistan is committed to pursue meaningful dialogue with India for peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir.

“The onus is, however, on India to create an enabling environment conducive for dialogue,” he added.

He further stated that Pakistan remains committed to maintaining peaceful relations with all its neighbours, including India. However, he added that Pakistan will continue to highlight Kashmir dispute and the rights of the oppressed Kashmiri people at all the international forums. “It is reprehensible that Indian occupation forces are continuing with the killing spree in the IIOJK,” he said.

Since the start of this year, he added that at least, 15 Kashmiris have fallen victim to extrajudicial killings in fake encounters and so-called cordon-and-search operations, whereas, around 210 Kashmiris were martyred in 2021. “India is also shamelessly targeting journalists and human rights defenders,” he added.

About Afghanistan, he said that urgent action is required to stave off a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan and also welcomed the appeal by the United Nations in this regard.

“We continue to follow closely the situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan welcomes the launch by the UN – what has been termed the largest single country aid appeal ever - for humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that this comes on the heels of the OIC Extraordinary Ministerial Session in Islamabad last month focusing on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

To another question about the national security policy, he said that the national security policy document was a result of wide consultations among the stakeholders.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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