Thursday, June 13

Opening Remarks for the Weekly Press Briefing by the Spokesperson Thursday, 21 December 2023

Opening Remarks for the Weekly Press Briefing by the Spokesperson Thursday, 21 December 2023
Opening Remarks for the Weekly Press Briefing by the Spokesperson Thursday, 21 December 2023

Assalam-o-Alaikum,

Thanks for joining us for the Weekly Briefing.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar undertook a one-day visit to Kuwait on the occasion of the sad demise of His Highness Amir Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. He met with the new Amir, Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and offered condolences on behalf of the Government and the people of Pakistan. The State of Kuwait has lost a visionary leader who will be remembered as a well-wisher and friend of Pakistan and for his great contributions in advancing bilateral relations between the two countries.

Yesterday, the inaugural round of Pakistan-Brunei Bilateral Consultation and Cooperation (BCC) was held in virtual format. It was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, Ambassador Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi and Permanent Foreign Secretary of Brunei, Pengiran Norhashimah Binti Pg Mohd Hassan. The two sides engaged in extensive discussion on bilateral relations, regional developments and multilateral issues. They agreed to develop a broad and multifaceted partnership with focus on trade, investment and close cultural cooperation.

This month, Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi issued 166 visas to Indian Hindu pilgrims for visits to Shree Katas Raj Temples in Punjab and for participation in annual Celebrations at Shadani Darbar Hayat Pitafi, Sindh. Pakistan also issued visas to 3000 Sikh pilgrims from India on the occasion of the 554th Birthday Celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak this month to visit Pakistan from 25 November to 04 December 2023.

Under the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, Pakistan welcomes and facilitates thousands of Sikh and Hindu pilgrims from India to visit Pakistan to attend various religious festivals and occasions every year. The issuance of pilgrimage visas is in line with Pakistan’s commitment to facilitate visits to religious shrines and promote interfaith harmony. This year, 6824 visas were issued to Indian pilgrims visiting Pakistan.

Last week, Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani addressed letters to the leadership of the United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the European Union, inviting their attention to the illegality of the recent judgement by the Supreme Court of India on the status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). In these letters, the Foreign Minister has underscored that under international law, domestic legislation and judicial verdicts cannot over-ride UNSC resolutions and change the status of an internationally-recognized disputed territory.

The Foreign Minister has called on the UN Security Council to ensure full implementation of its resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute; and to urge India to end its grave and systematic human rights violations in IIOJK and to reverse all its illegal and unilateral actions in IIOJK undertaken since 5 August 2019.

Pakistan will continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters for the just and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions.

Pakistan remains deeply concerned over the ongoing campaign of brutality and large-scale massacre unleashed upon the Palestinian people. We strongly condemn Israel’s ongoing war on hospitals and its barbarous bulldozing of tents in the courtyard and vicinity of the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza that crushed to death numerous Palestinians including women, children and wounded patients under treatment. The crimes against humanity in occupied Palestine are a haunting stain on the conscience of humanity. Pakistan calls for holding Israel accountable for its actions and the UNSC to take immediate effective action to impose a ceasefire and lift the inhumane siege against Gaza.

Pakistan is also deeply concerned over the recent statements made by senior Israeli officials rejecting creation of a viable and independent Palestinian state. Such statements, especially the comments on the “Oslo Accords”, reflect the true intentions of the Israeli occupation authorities, their disregard for International law and commitments and rejection of a just resolution of the Palestinian question.

Pakistan firmly believes that the only just solution to the Palestinian question is the creation of an independent, viable, sovereign and contiguous Palestinian State along pre-June 1967 borders with Al-Quds-Al-Sharif as its capital.

We will continue to support international efforts to bring an end to Israel’s ongoing campaign against the Palestinian people. Pakistan will, therefore, participate in the “Consultative Conference on Palestine” scheduled to take place in Tehran, on 23rd of December, 2023. We will share more details in due course.

Thank you!

Editor: Raja Kamran