ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday predicted that a peace deal between the United States and the Afghan Taliban was on the anvil.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said that US-Taliban talks were a step forward towards the peace agreement.

“We have said this on multiple occasions. We are closely following the developments regarding the US-Taliban peace talks. We believe that it was a good development that Taliban have showed their readiness to agree to call for reduction in violence,” she added.

The spokesperson said Pakistan hoped that the US-Taliban peace talks would come to its logical conclusion leading to Intra-Afghan negotiations.

She said the OIC and Pakistan had deep engagement. “Historically, the OIC has been one of the strongest proponents of Kashmir cause and several OIC resolutions have been passed on different aspects of Jammu and Kashmir dispute, including human rights violations, legal aspects of the dispute and the peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute as per the UNSC Resolutions,” she continued.

“Since August 5, the OIC contact group has played an active role and met at the ministerial level on the sidelines of UNGA. The OIC reported extensively on the human rights situation in held Kashmir. Pakistan remains engaged with the OIC at leadership level on the Kashmir cause and several ideas are discussed regularly in this regard,” she maintained.

To a question, the spokesperson said the vision of Pakistan’s foreign policy was given at the leadership level by the government. “The steering of this vision is carried out under the direction of the foreign minister by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We take the cause of Jammu and 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,” she contended.

Following the illegal and unilateral actions of India on August 5, 2019, she said the Kashmir Cell was established in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Aisha Farooqui said taking forward the strategy on the Kashmir cause was not an event but a process. “All aspects of the Kashmir dispute including legal, political and humanitarian are taken forward in accordance with the UNSC Resolutions. Pakistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have never been shy or negligent towards this core issue of our foreign policy. We are dedicated in taking it forward,” she remarked. On the plan regarding the signing of an agreement with Turkey to allow dual citizenship for citizens of the two countries, she said: “Both sides are engaged on this issue. Details are being explored and discussed, once it is finalized.”

She continued Turkish President Recep Tayab Erdogan was visiting Pakistan on February 13. The visit is taking place as per schedule agreed by both sides.

About the Kashmir Solidarity Day, she said, all Pakistan Missions abroad had organised events, seminars and other activities across the world.

On Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Malaysia, she said Malaysian PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad had invited PM Khan for the trip.

He was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Cabinet members and senior officials, she added.