ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday said the United States will impose restrictions on diplomats’ movement from today (May 11) and Islamabad will also ‘reciprocate’.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said that the restrictions will be implemented on May 11 and these will be on a reciprocal basis. “However, negotiations are ongoing between the two sides on the matter,” he said.

Under the restrictions, the diplomats will have to seek permission for any movement beyond a limit – probably 40-kilometer or beyond.

The spokesperson said that Pakistan differed with the unilateral decision by the US to end the nuclear deal with Iran.

Faisal said that Pakistan believed that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action represented a very good example of a negotiated settlement of complex issues through dialogue and diplomacy.

“We had welcomed the JCPOA when it was concluded and hope that all parties will find a way for its continuation, especially when the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly verified Iran’s compliance. We have noted the willingness of the parties to the agreement to work together on upholding their respective commitments as stipulated in the JCPOA, despite the US decision to withdraw from it,” he said.

Faisal said that Pakistan believed that international treaties and agreements concluded through painstaking negotiations were ‘sacrosanct’.’ “Arbitrarily rescinding such agreements will undermine confidence in the value of dialogue and diplomacy in the conduct of international relations,” he said.

To a question on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, he said: “The ministry of petroleum is in contact with Iran on this project. Both Pakistan and Iran are in talks.”

Faisal said that Pakistan’s relations with Russia or the US were not at the expense of each other. “Whereas our engagement with Russia is expanding, our relationship with the US and the NATO remains equally good,” he said.

He said that Ali Jehangir will soon take charge as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US as an agreement had been received from Washington. To a question, he said that Pakistan and the US do share the common objective of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“Issues facing Afghanistan are internal to Afghanistan. Pakistan as a neighbour can only support the Afghan government and the US in their efforts towards a lasting peace and development in Afghanistan,” he said.

The spokesperson said that there were reports of the unfortunate controversy and resultant clashes regarding the removal of the Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s picture in the Aligarh University.

“Traditionally pictures of all life members are displayed in the university.  The Quaid’s picture has been displayed in the university since 1938,” he said.

There were also reports of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s picture being replaced by that of PM Modi in Khair Town Guest House, Aligarh, he said. “This is in sharp contrast with the tolerance in Pakistan where pictures/statues of Gandhi, continue to be displayed at the Islamabad Monument museum,” he said.

He said: “The row over the picture’s display on the demand of a member of the incumbent government indicates the growing intolerance, xenophobia and prejudice, especially against Muslims and Pakistan in India and is very dangerous, most of all for India itself. It also reflects the fanaticism rampant in Indian society being fuelled by those in power.”

To a question, he said that the Track-II diplomacy was active but there was no formal or official dialogue currently between Pakistan and India.  “Our position remains constant. We are ready to engage in unconditional dialogue with India on all issues, including the core Kashmir dispute, Sir Creek, Siachen and terrorism,” he underlined.

He said that last week had been equally heart-wrenching as Kashmiri people continued to suffer from the heinous and barbaric acts of Indian state-sponsored terrorism and human rights violations in the occupied valley.

“To stop its heinous face from being exposed, the mobile internet and social networking websites are blocked by the Indian authorities in Kashmir during violent operations and after every killing in the occupied territory. Despite these efforts, the gruesome video of an armoured car mowing down an unarmed protestor in the valley went viral across the social media, wrenching the conscience of the entire international community,” he said.

Pakistan, he said, remained in full solidarity with the people of Kashmir. Pakistan also welcomes the strong support demonstrated by Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states for the resolution of Kashmir dispute in line with the UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiris at the 45th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Dhaka on May 5 and May 6.

“We urge the international community to take cognizance of the brutal repression and massive violations of human rights taking place in Kashmir and to use its influence with India to bring an immediate end to the culture of impunity that has been fostered there for seven decades,” he said.

Pakistan, he said, “calls upon the world community to play its rightful role in promoting a just and lasting solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people. We believe this is a sine qua non for durable peace and stability in South Asia.”

He said Pakistan was deeply disappointed over the failure of the UN Sanctions Committee to list Abdul Wali (Khan Sajna of TTP splinter group) who was a known terrorist and has the blood of hundreds of innocent Pakistanis on his hands.

He said that India cannot get representation in the OIC in any form as it was an aggressor state responsible for the massive human rights violations of the Kashmiri Muslims over last 70 years.

 

 

Pakistan, US impose restrictions on diplomats’ movement: FO

 

 

SHAFQAT ALI