ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Thursday offered to mediate between the United States and Iran amid growing tensions between the two countries.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said Pakistan always supported dialogue and desired that all issues should be settled peacefully and through engagement by all sides.

“If required, Pakistan is ready to play a constructive and positive role in this regard,” he added.

His comments came as Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrived in Islamabad for talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

“The Iranian Foreign Minister will hold talks with FM Qureshi tomorrow (May 24). We believe the situation in the region is serious and needs to be addressed through dialogue by all parties. We expect all sides to show restraint, as any miscalculated move, can transmute into a large-scale conflict,” Faisal said.

He added: “Our position is very clear in this regard. Pakistan supports dialogue in all situations. If there is any problem, it should be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiations.”

On Kashmir dispute, the foreign office spokesperson said there cannot be any change in the status of Kashmir without plebiscite in the territory as per the UNSC resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiri people.

The spokesperson denounced Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir and illegal detention of Hurriyat leaders. He said India instead of misleading international community on Kashmir dispute should accept ground realities and aspirations of the people of Kashmir.

Asked to comment on the brief interaction between the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and India on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Bishkek, the spokesperson said that Foreign Minister himself will give a statement on it.       

Pakistan, he said: “condemns the house arrest of Syed Ali Shah Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and imposition of curfew across Srinagar on May 21, to prevent a march towards the Martyrs’ Graveyard at Eidgah.”

He said India should stop misleading the international community and accept the ground realities and aspirations of the people of Kashmir, instead of continuing with its policy of obduracy in the territory.

To a question about the implementation of Treaty on Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners between Pakistan and China signed during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first visit to China in November, 2018, he said Pakistan had completed its ratification process in early January, 2019 and conveyed it to Chinese side with request to complete its formalities.

“Chinese side has informed that they are completing internal process for ratification. The matter has been taken up with Chinese government a highest level for early ratification of the treaty. Government of Pakistan will continue to raise this issue in future as well with Chinese side at all levels,” he added.

About Indian statement that removal of Article 370 and 35 (A) from the Indian Constitution would resolve the Kashmir dispute, Faisal said: “Pakistan opposes any move which violates the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. In principle, there cannot be any change in the status of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir until a UN administered plebiscite is held in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions.”

He said Foreign Minister Qureshi will attend the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers session on May 28 and 29, 2019.

To a question, he said PM Imran Khan’s participation in the 14th Islamic Summit of the OIC on May 30 and 31 was still not confirmed.

Faisal said Bangladesh has confirmed that “Bangladesh has not stopped issuing visas to anyone.”

“Pakistan wants friendly relations with all countries and is trying to address all pending matters on the basis of reciprocity. We are in touch with the Bangladeshi authorities in the matter,” he remarked.

To a question, he said Osman Abdullahi Hussein, Cultural Attaché of Somalian Embassy met an accident at Nazim-ud-din Road -Marvi road crossing, F-7, hitting a motorcyclist, a Pakistani Citizen, namely Mushtaq Ahmed Kiyani, leaving him dead.

Osman Abdullah Hussein, Cultural Attaché, was taken to the hospital by the police for medical check-up and was not found under any influence. The police investigation revealed that the motorcyclist violated red traffic signal, which resulted in the collision. On the same day, Somali Ambassador was called to Foreign Office and Chief of Protocol informed her that actions under “Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1963” and as per “Law of the Land” will be taken,” he elaborated.

Faisal said Japan was in need of foreign workers due to a rapidly ageing population and low birth rate. “It has launched a new visa system to bring in more foreign workers to meet an acute labour shortage. Under this new system, foreigners with certain Japanese language and job skills can now apply for a resident status,” he added.

Both countries, he said, had already signed Memorandum of Cooperation on Technical Intern Training Programme in February 2019. “Pakistan will send trainees to Japan. The concerned authorities in Pakistan and Japan are also working on a MoU to formalise the process of sending Pakistani skilled workers to Japan,” he said.

He said Qureshi and Russian FM Sergei Lavrov signed a Joint Statement on No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space. “Outer space is being used by an increasing number of States. Pakistan has been consistently highlighting the risks of weaponisation of Outer Space, which threaten the long term sustainability of peaceful space activities. The use of force against space based objects, the development and deployment of Anti Ballistic Missile systems and their integration into space assets have added worrying dimensions to the issues relating to Outer Space,” he said.