ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan yesterday said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not been invited to the Kartarpur corridor inauguration next month.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said that only former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been invited to the opening ceremony.

To a question regarding Prime Minister Imran Khan’s proposal for a mediatory role between Iran and the United States, he said that US President Donald Trump had requested Prime Minister Khan to help in mediating a solution between the US and Iran.

“PM Imran Khan supports a negotiated and amicable solution to the US-Iran stand-off. Pakistan will continue to urge all sides to resolve issues through dialogue,” he added.

Faisal said that Pakistan wanted a pacific settlement of the Afghan dispute and the Taliban agreed in principle. “I cannot share any further details,” he added.

He said that the delegation of the Taliban Political Commission in Doha called on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

“The delegation was led by the head of TPC Maulana Abdul Ghani Baradar and included senior members of the Commission. FM Qureshi noted that Pakistan would continue to support all efforts to achieve permanent peace in Afghanistan which was essential for Pakistan’s own socio-economic development and progress,” he said.

Faisal said that an inclusive peace and reconciliation process, involving all sections of the Afghan society, was the only, practical way forward and noted that the direct Taliban-US talks since last year, strongly and sincerely supported by Pakistan, had now laid a firm ground for achieving a sustainable peace deal in Afghanistan.

Pakistan, he said, had congratulated the people and government of Afghanistan on successful holding of the 4th Presidential elections.

“The people of Afghanistan particularly deserve appreciation for their clear decision to continue with the democratic course despite serious hurdles and challenges. We sincerely hope that the new government elected through a free, fair and transparent voting process will enjoy the full mandate to take the stalled peace process forward,” he said.

The spokesperson said this was important for ending the 18-year-old conflict through an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned negotiated political settlement. “Pakistan will continue to facilitate the new Afghan government towards this end,” he said.

Questioned, when will Pakistan table a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council, he said: “A lot of work is being undertaken on highlighting Kashmir dispute at all forums. We have been and will continue to keep all of you informed as we proceed in the matter.” He said Pakistan had raised the discrimination against Kashmiris on Twitter.

Condemning the atrocities of India in held Kashmir, Faisal said India had been cornered on the issue as the whole world had protested against the bloodshed in the held valley.

To a question, Faisal said the Saudi position on Kashmir was clear and was reflected in the Joint Communiqué issued by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

“Saudi Arabia is a very important member (of the OIC). This Communiqué is a testament of Muslim Ummah’s (nation) position on the Kashmir dispute,” he remarked.

Asked why Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi was replaced, he said: “I believe Dr Maleeha Lodhi was replaced after the completion of her tenure. Unfortunately, there has been a slander campaign against the appointment of Ambassador Munir Akram, which is reprehensible. It must be noted that he is a distinguished and experienced member of Foreign Service of Pakistan and an eminent diplomat.

His contributions are internationally acknowledged and recognized. He will assume his duties in New York soon.”

He said PM Khan’s plane returned to the nearest airport after developing a technical fault when flying back home after the session. “In this case, New York was the closest and most plausible destination, logistically,” he added.

Faisal said that the details regarding the visit of British Royal couple -Prince Williams and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton will be shared soon.