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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office Friday ruled out the possibility of any theft of the confidential documents, including the diplomatic cypher being presented by former prime minister Imran Khan as a “proof” of an alleged “foreign conspiracy” behind his ouster and emphatically stated that these documents are present in a proper, safe and secure situation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Responding to media queries during his weekly briefing with regard to any possibility of theft of the original copy of the diplomatic cypher which the federal cabinet in its last meeting stated that the copy of the cypher at the PM House has gone missing, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar ruled out any such possibility of any theft of these documents from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“In our previous statements, we have also described for information of colleagues about the system that handles these documents. It is very evident that these documents are handled and present in the Foreign Ministry in a proper, safe and secure situation,” the spokesperson said.

Asked to comment on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s statement in which he accused Imran Khan of damaging the Pak-US ties during his tenure, the spokesperson declined “to add further to what the prime minister has said”. However, there is a lot of positive momentum in the relationship between Pakistan and the US “which is evident from the very intense engagements, visits, meetings and interactions at various levels that have taken place.”

Second 'Imran' audio leak: another purported discussion on cipher strategy

“It is in the interest of both countries to keep this positive trajectory and healthy engagements for the mutual benefit of our two countries,” he added.

He stated that Pakistan’s position on regional and global affairs is well known.

To another query with regard to India’s oppressive measures to damage Kashmiris’ economy by obstructing their trade, the spokesperson stated that the international community should take notice of India’s oppressive measures, including the continued worst human rights violations and the steps to damage Kashmiris’ economy by obstructing their trade.

He said that having failed to suppress the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people, India is now resorting to the use of coercive means by blocking the cross Line of Control (LoC) trade.

He said India is especially restricting the movement of perishable goods to harm the economic interests of the farmers of the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked to comment on the new US sanctions on Iran, he said that Pakistan has a principled position that the issue should be resolved through diplomacy and talks, adding that unilateral sanctions are counterproductive.

To another query about the expected donors’ conference to assist Pakistan in the wake of the catastrophic floods, the spokesperson said that French President Emmanuel Macron has offered to co-host the international conference together with the United Nations and the government of Pakistan which is expected to take place at the end of November.

He stated that the UN revised flash appeal to the tune of US$ 816 million was launched in Geneva earlier this week on 4 October. The revised appeal upscales the Floods Response by US$ 656 million from the initial appeal of US$ 160 million. He said that the increase reflects the rising needs and the unprecedented scale of destruction caused by the disaster and is focused on provision of urgent and lifesaving assistance and protection to the affected people.

He said that the government of Pakistan, the UN, humanitarian and philanthropic organizations, and local communities have been working hard to assist flood-affected areas across Pakistan.

He said that the global community has stepped forward with valuable assistance. “Sustained international support is going to be crucial to complement the national efforts going forward, ensuring effective rehabilitation of the millions who have been affected, and rebuilding and reconstructing in a more resilient and sustainable manner,” he added.

He said that the UN General Assembly will adopt a resolution on Friday, which was introduced by Pakistan and was co-sponsored by over 130 countries. “This resolution expresses strong solidarity and support for the government and people of Pakistan in the wake of the devastating floods,” he added.

To another query, he said that of the initial flash appeal of $160 million, a total of $ 355 million pledges were made of which $ 90 million has been actualized.

With regard to the Taliban’s interim Afghan government’s restriction on trading with Pakistani currency in Afghanistan, the spokesperson said that the restrictions on PKR have been suspended. He hoped that the interim Afghan authorities will take such measures that are in the interest of the people of the two countries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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