ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday strongly denied laxity in pursuing the Kashmir case on the world stage. “We take the cause of Jammu & Kashmir very seriously; it is the core issue of Pakistan’s foreign policy. The observation that the Foreign Office is not taking it seriously is not accurate,” FO spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said at the weekly media briefing.
Pakistan observed the Kashmir Day on Feb 5 to highlight human rights abuses by Indian occupation forces in held Kashmir and create awareness about the longstanding dispute and unimplemented UN Security Council resolutions related to it.
India last year annexed the occupied region by annulling Article 370, thereby ending the special status given to it in the Indian Constitution.
There has been criticism by certain political quarters in Pakistan that FO was not doing enough to promote the Kashmir cause.
The spokesperson said that the government outlined the “vision” of the foreign policy, whereas the FO implemented the same. She later explained the implementation mechanism of the government’s Kashmir policy within the FO.
The Kashmir Cell in the FO, she said, was a multi-agency unit dedicated to monitoring the evolving situation in occupied Kashmir and implementing the government’s strategy through over 100 missions across the world.
Cautioning against hyping expectations, Ms Farooqui said: “The strategy on the Kashmir cause is not an event, it is a process.”
She assured sceptics that the FO had never been “shy or negligent” on Kashmir and remained “dedicated in taking it forward”.
In reply to a question about Riyadh not backing Islamabad’s proposal for convening a meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on Kashmir, she recalled engagement with the Muslim bloc including the meeting of the Contact Group and a report by OIC’s human rights arm on Kashmir ever since annexation of the region by India and said “several ideas” were discussed in this regard.
However, Islamabad did not find the proposals attractive and commensurate with the seriousness of the crisis after India’s action of Aug 5, 2019.
“Pakistan remains engaged with OIC at the leadership level for the Kashmir cause and several ideas are discussed regularly in this regard,” she said. Ms Farooqui said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would visit Pakistan next week.