Kashmir issue to be raised with US Deputy Secretary of State

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan says the United States has a very special responsibility towards addressing the grave and continuing human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K), and the issue will be raised with the visiting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman during talks at the Foreign Office on Friday (today).

Ms Sherman prior to coming to Islamabad has been traveling to New Delhi and Mumbai. Pakistan says the two countries are maintaining high-level engagement on a broad range of bilateral and regional issues, including Afghanistan, and these continuing discussions on important issues would be raised with Ms Sherman.

“Violations of human rights in IIOJ&K is an ongoing situation. We are taking it up at all levels — through bilateral and multilateral channels, including particularly with the UN leadership. I am certain this issue is going to be raised during the visit of the Deputy Secretary of State. We think that important countries like the US have a very special responsibility - as the permanent member of the UNSC and as advocates of human rights globally - in addressing the grave concerns regarding the human rights situation in IIOJK”, said the spokesman at the Foreign Office during the weekly media briefing.

After the visit of the CIA Director William J Burns, Ms Sherman is the senior most official to visit Pakistan. Besides Afghanistan which has always been the focus of the US in talks with Pakistan, and the main reason that saw Burns here, the spokesman said it was time also to look at other shared interest in the bilateral relationship. “I think it is very clear and we have been saying it for quite some time that we desire a relationship that takes into account the interests of both countries, and we do have many shared interests with the US There is a desire on part of Pakistan, and I believe on part of US as well, to make this relationship broad-based and forward looking, moving away from looking at it mostly from the perspective of Afghanistan. As I said before close engagement between Pakistan and the US has always been mutually beneficial and a factor for stability in the region”. When the recent reports of the US Congressional hearing were raised at the briefing, the spokesman said that these are a matter of concern.

“Let me reiterate that the US Congressional hearings represent a continuation of the debate underway in Washington to reflect on and draw lessons from the US intervention in Afghanistan. While the views being expressed by lawmakers and experts during these hearings do not necessarily reflect the United States’ official position, they are a matter of concern, and are nonetheless inconsistent with the reality of the ongoing cooperation between Pakistan and the United States on Afghanistan”, he said.

“Both the countries are constantly engaged in resolving the important issue of the return of Pakistani students to China. And the issue has been discussed at various levels with the Chinese authorities both in Beijing and Islamabad. We understand the measures taken by China to curtail the spread of the virus”, said the spokesman. Meanwhile, he added it was expected that all Pakistani students would continue regularly attending the online classes to meet the academic requirements.

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