ISLAMABAD   -  Pakistan on Thursday said that the tension between United States and Iran was alarming for the region.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said the recent developments in the Persian Gulf region were disturbing.

“US decision to deploy aircraft carrier and bombers has added to the tensions and the existing precarious security situation in Middle East. We expect all sides to show restraint as a miscalculated move can transmute into a large-scale conflict,” he added.

Faisal said Pakistan desired that all issues should be settled through peaceful dialogue and engagement by all sides.

The spokesperson said Pakistan and China had started operation against bureaus involved in performing fake marriages.  Dr Faisal said that the victims can contact Chinese or Pakistani embassies, adding the action had been taken to protect the citizens of both states from criminal gangs and agents.

China, he said, had taken action against illegal marriage Bureaus and Pakistan had also launched similar actions to protect Pakistani nationals from such criminal agents and gangs. 

“Any person, if found involved in such criminal activities, shall be effectively dealt with under the law. It is confirmed that there are no reports regarding trafficking of women for organ harvesting,” he added.

Faisal said the Federal Investigation Agency had been directed to further investigate the cases and present its comprehensive report on the matter.

Condemning the Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir, the spokesperson said the valley has been turned into a military camp where people are under siege facing injustice, harassment and barbarism.

Dr Faisal said India should stop misleading international community on Kashmir dispute and accept the ground realities and aspirations of the people of Kashmir.

He said India cannot crush the freedom movement through its hostilities. He also expressed concerns over illegal detention of Hurriyat leaders and demanded their release at the earliest.

To a question about the Samjhota train incident, he said the Foreign Office was actively pursuing this matter as it holds great significance for Pakistan.

“More than 42 Pakistanis were killed in this attack. Swami Aseemanand, the master mind who confessed to this heinous act of terrorism before a magistrate was acquitted. Such a decision casts aspersions on the credibility of the Indian judicial system. Pakistan has been regularly raising this issue with India, especially since 2014 when systemic efforts were initiated in India to exonerate the accused,” he elaborated.

Faisal said Pakistan had “continued to raise it over the years, especially after the acquittal to which India has no reply. Presently, we are considering different options to take up this case with the relevant international forums.” To a question, he said Pakistan-India airspaces remained banned for each other.

The spokesperson said the UAE government has decided to release 572 Pakistani prisoners languishing in their jails. He said: “our mission in the UAE is in touch with the UAE authorities in order to expedite their release and deportation.”

He said the pace of repatriation of Afghan refugees had slowed down in recent years. “There are a host of reasons that are external to Pakistan. We remain engaged with Afghanistan, UNHCR and other relevant countries to inter alia work towards creating pull factors in Afghanistan. Pakistan has demonstrated exemplary hospitality for Afghan refugees. 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of Afghan refugee presence in Pakistan. We will continue to work with Afghanistan for voluntary and dignified repatriation,” he maintained.

He said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was scheduled to pay an official visit to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from May 21-22 to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers.

The foreign ministers’ meeting is taking place in pursuance of a statutory provision of SCO that requires the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs to be convened one month prior to the Meeting of the Council of Heads of State. The Council of Foreign Ministers shall prepare for the CHS in Bishkek on June 13-14 June. The Foreign Minister’s participation in the SCO CFM will highlight Pakistan’s interest in regional, peace, stability and development and will give us an opportunity to project our perspective on foreign policy issues, he said.

“SCO is an important regional forum which allows us to explore greater economic linkages and cooperation with the region in the areas of energy and transport and would help us in promoting Pakistan as a regional trade corridor. Council of Foreign Ministers also offers an opportunity to meet leaders of Member States of SCO on the sidelines,” Faisal said.

To a question, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to participate in the SCO Heads of State meeting being held on June 13-14 in Bishkek.

He said Pakistan was ready and fully equipped to defend itself against all forms of threat including that from the Islamic State.  About the deportation of Pakistani nationals from US, he said it was part of the bilateral agenda between the two countries for quite some time. “Pakistan’s position has been consistent and clear that only those individuals can be deported to Pakistan who have exhausted all legal remedies to stay in the US and have also been duly verified by the Government of Pakistan as Pakistani nationals,” he added.