ISLAMABAD            -           Pakistan on Thursday said India was brutally crushing the Muslim population particularly in Occupied Kashmir at a time when the whole world is fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said it was deeply disconcerting that the discriminatory and anti-Muslim policies and practices of the RSS-inspired BJP government persisted even as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded.

“A systematic campaign is unfortunately underway to demonize Muslims, who face increased exclusion as well as the threat of mob violence. The OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation)  in its recent statement expressed deep concern following the media accounts of rising anti-Muslim sentiments and Islamophobia within political and media circles as well as on social media platforms, where Indian Muslim minority community is being blamed for the spread of the corona virus in India,” she said,

The OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission, she said, had also condemned the unrelenting vicious Islamophobic campaign in India maligning Muslims for spread of COVID-19 as well as their negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination and violence with impunity.

Aisha Farooqui said the April 23rd was the 263rd day of the continued oppression and communication blackout faced by the people in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir since India’s illegal and unilateral action on August 5. 2019.

“In the past few days, Indian occupation forces carried out cordon and search operations in civilian areas of IOJ&K, and used excessive force against unarmed innocent civilians which resulted in martyrdom of 8 Kashmiri civilians,” she said.

Aisha Farooqui said Prime Minister Imran Khan had a telephone conversation with the President of the United States Donald Tump on Wednesday where Prime Minister Khan extended “our sympathies and condolences” on the loss of precious lives in the US as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The two leaders exchanged views on the implications of the pandemic on global economy as well as discussed regional issues and ways to further strengthen cooperation between our two countries,” she said,

The Prime Minister, she said, also highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus and the efforts to provide relief to the vulnerable segments of the society.

 

“The Prime Minister also thanked President Trump on the US support in the IMF and other multilateral fora that would assist Pakistan in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the spokesperson elaborated.

 

To a question, she said, the coronavirus pandemic had engulfed all nations of the world. “Pakistan has been assisted by several countries in different ways,” she added. Aisha Farooqui said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had called Hanif Atmar Acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan on April 20 and congratulated on his recent appointment.

 

“Both sides discussed a number of issues including APAPPS. The dates are being worked out. Once these details are finalized they will be shared,” she remarked. She said the question also was raised about extradition of Daesh leader Farooqui in the telephonic conversation with Haneef Atmar.

 

Aisha Farooqui said most countries do not give ethnicities of those who succumbed to coronavirus. Most figures shared are informal and anecdotal as to how many Pakistanis or Pakistani origin people have died.

“According to one unofficial estimate a total of 138 Pakistanis or Pakistani origin people in different countries of the world have died due to COVID-19,” she explained.

 

She said SOPs had been established for the repatriation of dead bodies affected by coronavirus.

Aisha Farooqui said Pakistan participated in Video Conference organized on March 15 as a gesture of solidarity with other SAARC Member States and commitment to SAARC which provides important platform for regional cooperation. Pakistan also participated in an expert level meeting on March 26.

 

“We, however, did not attend trade officials’ meeting on 08 April 2020 as SAARC Secretariat was not part of the same,” the spokesperson said. She said Pakistan had also pledged $ 3 million to SAARC COVID-19 Fund, while conveying that funds be administered by SAARC Secretariat.

 

Aisha Farooqui said despite the global emergency due to COVID-19, Indian forces have continued to violate Ceasefire Understanding (2003). “Pakistan Army posts and innocent civilians are frequently being targeted by the Indian forces, on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, resulting in significant number of civilian and military casualties and damage to properties,” she said.

 

 

Pakistan calls

for end to

systematic

anti-Muslim campaign

in India