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FO termed Indian invitation as Childish

25 January, 2019

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Terming India’s counter-invitation to Pakistan on Kartarpur Corridor as ‘childish’, the Foreign Office on Thursday said the step would be reciprocated with a ‘mature’ response.

“I can assure that our reply to India’s childish invitation will be mature and well-considered,” Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Faisal said in response to a question about the fate of negotiations on Kartarpur Corridor.

Pakistan on January 21 had shared a draft agreement with India along with an invitation to initiate negotiations for its finalization besides appointing Director General South Asia as focal person to sort out modalities for the opening of the corridor. India, avoiding a tough choice between rejecting the invitation and accepting Pakistan’s offer for talks, instead asked Pakistani officials to visit New Delhi for talks on the issue with proposed dates of February 26 and March 7.

The spokesman said India was pursuing the policy of ignoring Pakistan’s goodwill gestures, similar to its earlier response to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s letter to resume dialogue between two neighbouring countries on all outstanding issues.

Responding to a question on latest ceasefire violations by India on the Line of Control, the spokesman said India resorts to such diversionary tactics just to cover its ongoing oppression and atrocities against innocent Kashmiris in the occupied valley. He said India committed 2,300 ceasefire violations last year and these violations are still on the surge. He said Pakistan is responding in a befitting manner to the unprovoked Indian firing on the LOC.

The spokesman categorically stated that Pakistan would respond to India in the same coin. “If it speaks the language of peace, we will respond peacefully and if it speaks the language of bullet, we will respond with a bullet,” he asserted.

To a question, Dr Faisal rejected the Indian claim about sinking of their fishing boat in Pakistani waters on 17th of this month. He, however, said poaching in Pakistani exclusive economic zones is a frequent activity by the Indian fishing boats. He said Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) conducts anti-poaching operations as per laws and international regulations and the relevant UN convention.

To a question, Dr Faisal categorically rejected the presence of Daesh in Pakistan. “In the best of my knowledge, there is no Daesh in Pakistan,” he said, when asked to comment on the recent shootout in Sahiwal where a member of the terrorist outfit was reportedly killed by the officials of Punjab’s Counter-Terrorism Department.

When asked about Afghan reconciliation process, the spokesman said Pakistan and Qatar are providing the necessary support and facilitating ongoing talks between Afghan Taliban and the US in Doha. He said Pakistan’s stated position on the Afghan peace and reconciliation process remains the same that intra-Afghan dialogue and a politically negotiated solution is the only way forward to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and the region at large. He said it is the shared responsibility of all the stakeholders to continue their positive role in furthering the peace process in Afghanistan.

To a query, Dr Faisal said US Senator Lindsey Graham during his recent visit to Islamabad had very constructive interactions with the Pakistani leadership including Prime Minister Imran Khan on promoting bilateral relations and seeking a political settlement in Afghanistan. He said no dates have yet been finalized for any meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump.

When asked about Pakistani prisoners languishing in Afghan jails, the spokesperson said negotiations with the Afghan authorities are in progress on the matter and “we hope that some Pakistani prisoners would soon be released and repatriated.”

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