ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday said Jammu and Kashmir was the oldest issue on the agenda of the United Nations which, needed to be resolved.
“There has been no change in Pakistan’s principled position on Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Whenever there are talks between India and Pakistan, Kashmir’s issue would remain on agenda,” Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Nafees Zakaria told his weekly press briefing.
He said Pakistan had always condemned human rights violations by the Indian security forces and this support would continue till the implementation of pending UNSC resolutions.
“We welcome the US for recognising the Kashmir issue as a dispute. We also take every opportunity to raise the issue of gross human rights violations in IOK at international forums,” said the spokesperson, adding Pakistan’s policy was based on the prime minister’s vision of good relations with all neighbors, including India.
“We make efforts for the implementation of his vision in letter and spirit. People-to-people contacts are not only cultural or sports-related, but also include religious tourism,” he said, adding many Indian Sikh Yatrees and Hindu pilgrims visit holy places in Pakistan and many Pakistanis go to visit shrines in India.
He said Pakistan remained committed to counter-terrorism efforts, adding Pakistan is not the only country facing the menace of terrorism as this scourge was a challenge to the region and the world.
“We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Pakistan cooperates with the international community to root out this menace. Our position is that Pakistan supports all efforts towards eliminating terrorism and extremism,” he added.
The spokesperson said Pakistan released the Indian prisoners as a goodwill gesture as it has also done in the past while the Government of India released only four Pakistani civilians in February 2016.
“We are anticipating release of more prisoners that have completed their sentences. We are doing it because it is the right thing to do and we attach high importance to human-rights values,” he added.
Zakaria said incidents such as anti-Pakistan campaign on the eve of Pakistan cricket team’s visit to India are counter-productive to the efforts aimed at reducing tensions.
"Sports and other functions, including arts and cultural events, help in promoting people-to-people contacts between the two countries,” the spokesman said.
Responding to a question, Zakaria said, “Indian High Commission and its consulates are independent in granting visas to Pakistan and if there are refusals then the Foreign Office would take it up with the Indian government.”
To a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan, China and the United States are acting as facilitators for dialogue between the Afghan government and Taliban, adding it is the collective responsibility to bring Taliban to the negotiating table.
Commenting on Pakistan’s participation in 34-nation military coalition, the spokesperson said Pakistan has joined the 34-state Islamic military coalition to fight terrorism and extremism.