ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday said that Pakistan and Washington were working to mend fences as confidence-level was improving.

Addressing a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said that Pakistan and the United States were in contact to defuse tension. “The confidence level is on an upward trajectory. The two countries are in contact to promote the bilateral ties,” he said. 

His words came as US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells is expected to visit Pakistan for continuation of the dialogue process.

Dr Faisal said that there was no chance of Pakistan being placed on Financial Action Task Force (FATF’s) black list.

He said that Pakistan will implement the action plan negotiated with the FATF, while remaining in the grey list to address concerns of the international community. He said that Pakistan had done enough against terrorism and was committed to fighting the menace.

The FATF has placed Pakistan on the grey list during its plenary (meeting) in Paris for not acting against terror-financing on its soil. The US, Britain, Germany and France voted in favour of placing Pakistan on the grey list during FATF’s meeting while Pakistan’s closest allies Turkey, China and Saudi Arabia also backed them. Caretaker Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar along with senior officials of the financial monitoring unit was in Paris to defend Pakistan.

Ahead of the latest meeting, Pakistan took steps in keeping with FATF regulations. On June 20, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan issued the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Regulations 2018, in compliance with FATF recommendations. On June 8, Pakistan’s National Security Committee also reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate with the FATF in its fight against terrorist financing and money-laundering.

The FATF was an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money-laundering, terrorist-financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

Commenting on the situation in Afghanistan, Dr Faisal said that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in the best interest of Pakistan as well as the entire region. “Pakistan has always supported an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process,” he said.

Pakistan, he said, was not afraid of Human Rights Commissioner and Inquiry Commission’s visit to Pakistan and Indian should also give the commission permission to visit Kashmir.

Faisal regretted that the European Union’s approach of ignoring gross human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir as was reported by the UN commissioner’s report on human rights. He called upon the EU countries to support the UN report on gross violations of human rights in Kashmir by the Indian forces.

To a question, he said that surgical strikes claims and threats by India were only a ‘figment of imagination’ as Pakistan knew well how to defend the motherland.

Pakistan, he said, had welcomed the recommendation made by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations by India.

The report had stressed that the excessive use of force, the indiscriminate killing of civilians, blinding by pellet guns, cases of mass graves and sexual violence by India in Jammu and Kashmir constitute crimes against humanity, which must be investigated, he said.

Faisal said the Human Rights Commissioner condemned the recent assassination of the Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari on June 14. “Pakistan had long sought the UN’s sustained focus on Kashmir and the latest report reaffirms Pakistan’s well-known position on the grave human rights abuses committed by India in Kashmir,” he said.

The COI, he said, was consistent with Pakistan’s several calls to this effect since 2016, even as India has continued to ignore legitimate demands for a credible probe mechanism.

“We also endorse the UN’s call for a final political solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute through meaningful dialogue in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. The UN had a key role to play in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The UN Security Council remains seized of the matter and Jammu and Kashmir remains on its agenda. The latest UN report is a reminder of the urgency of the resolution of this dispute, both to protect human lives and to promote peace,” the spokesperson said.

Faisal said Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir continue to bleed, blind and maim innocent Kashmiris. 

“In just one week, the Indian occupation forces killed nine people including Dawood Ahmad Sofi, Majid Manzoor Dar, Adil Rehman Bhat, Mohammed Ashraf, Mohammed Ashraf Rathore, 19 years old Shahid Nazir Hajam, Shakoor Ahmad Dar and 24-year-old Yawar Ahmad Mir in Islamabad and Kulgam areas,” he pointed out.

Faisal said that detaining and not allowing All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Gilani to offer Friday prayers was highly deplorable and against the internationally recognized right to worship.

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, he said, had extended heartfelt felicitations to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on his victory in the elections.

He said the president underscored that the large turn-out and the peaceful conduct of the parliamentary and presidential elections was a testimony to the strength and vibrancy of Turkey’s democratic values and institutions.

 

 

 

The prime minister, he said, underlined that this electoral victory was a vote of strong confidence in the leadership and vision of President Erdogan, and the remarkable progress made by Turkey under the AK Party.

“The prime minister also reiterated Pakistan’s strong commitment to continue working with the brotherly government of Turkey to expand the existing strategic bilateral relations in all spheres,” the spokesperson said.