ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday said that Indian Air Force pilot Abhi­nandan was released as a peace gesture and there was no pressure to free him.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said that Pakistan wanted peace and stability in the region and release of Indian pilot manifested this resolve.

“Pakistan released Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan as a gesture for peace. It was not done under any pressure,” he said.

Pakistan, he said, was fully prepared and capable to take firm action against any misadventure from any country. 

He said Pakistan’s response of downing Indian planes was a manifestation of the level of preparedness of its Armed Forces against any outside threat.

The spokesperson said that new domicile and land acquisition laws in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir were against the international law and the spirit of UN resolutions over the matter. 

He said that India cannot alter the status quo of Occupied Kashmir.

“Kashmir Black Day” was observed across the globe to condemn India’s illegal occupation of Kashmir, he said, adding, that 27th of October represents a dark chapter in the human history when, 73 years ago, Indian forces had landed in Srinagar to forcibly occupy the territory.

The Day, he said, “reminds us of the landing of Indian occupation forces in Srinagar 73 years ago, and the atrocities that the people of IIOJK continue to endure ever since.”

The day also reminds us of the deepening humanitarian crisis in IIOJK - a scar on the collective conscience of the world community, he added.

He said in his message on the Black Day, Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned Indian illegal occupation and reiterated Pakistan`s unwavering support to the Kashmiri people. 

Highlighting the grave human rights situation in IIOJK, the Prime Minister urged the international community to take practical steps to stop India from using state-terrorism as a tool to further oppress the Kashmiri people and to destabilize the region.

On Kashmir Black Day, Chaudhry said, voices were raised in support of the Kashmiri people all across the globe. 

“Protests rallies and demonstrations were held in Birmingham, Brussels, Ecuador, France, Germany, London, Spain, South Africa, Stockholm Tokyo, Vienna and many other cities.

Seminars and exhibitions were organized in all key capitals and cities of the world,” he stated. The Indian Chargé d’Affaires, he said, was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to register Pakistan’s strong protest on the occasion of Kashmir Black Day. 

Pakistan’s strong condemnation of the Illegal Indian occupation and continuing human rights violations by the Indian occupation forces in IIOJK was conveyed to the Indian side, he maintained.

Pakistan, he said, strongly condemned the systematic resurgence of blasphemous acts of republication of caricatures of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and desecration of the Holy Quran by certain irresponsible elements in some developed countries. “We are further alarmed at the highly disturbing statements by certain politicians justifying such heinous acts under the garb of freedom of expression and equating Islam with terrorism, for narrow electoral and political gains,” the spokesperson said.

Pakistan, he said, had always supported and continues to lead international efforts for combating intolerance, discrimination and violence on the basis of religion or belief. 

“At a time of rising racism and populism, the international community must show a common resolve against xenophobia, intolerance, stigmatization and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief,” the spokesperson said.

Both Houses of the Parliament of Pakistan, the Senate and the National Assembly, unanimously passed resolutions, condemning the resurgence of Islamophobic acts and desecration of Holy Quran in some countries, he said.  

To a question, he said, Pakistan strongly condemned the drone attacks launched towards the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by Houthi militia.

“Pakistan appreciates the successful interception of the drones, which prevented the loss of innocent lives.  Pakistan reiterates its full support and solidarity with Saudi Arabia against any threats to its security and territorial integrity,” he added.

Chaudhry said India’s massive acquisition of armaments and expansion of its nuclear forces, including introduction of new destabilizing weapon systems, were developments with serious repercussions for peace and stability in South Asia.

“These developments clearly negate the argument that India’s mainstreaming in the international export control regimes will further the non-proliferation objectives of these regimes,” the spokesperson said.

Pakistan, he said, categorically rejects the Indian government’s illegal amendments in land ownership laws in IIOJK promulgated under “J&K Re-organisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020.” 

“The highly condemnable Indian action is yet another clear violation of the UN Security Council resolutions, bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India and international law,” he said. 

The spokesperson said India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019, and subsequent measures, particularly the domicile law and now the land ownership laws, were aimed at changing the demographic structure of IIOJK to convert the Kashmiris into a minority in their own land. 

He said the United Nations and the international community must take immediate action to stop India from changing the demography and distinct identity of IIOJK and facilitate resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute as per the relevant UNSC Resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

The continued crackdown against minorities, human rights organizations, media, and independent voices in India and IIOJK is a matter of grave concern, he said.

Chaudhry said Pakistan was deeply concerned over the raids by India’s National Investigation Agency on offices and residences of journalists and human rights activists and non-profit organizations, including Coalition of Civil Society, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, and Greater Kashmir newspaper in IIOJK. He said Pakistan had seen the highly irresponsible and belligerent statement made by BJP’s Uttar Pardesh Chief Minister Dev Sing, stating Prime Minister Narendra Modi had decided when the “country would be at war with China and Pakistan.”

 “Unfortunately, in response to any geopolitical, economic or military setback, instead of learning from its mistakes, RSS-BJP leadership simply doubles down its hostile rhetoric,” he added.

Pakistan, he said, calls upon the international community to take notice of these irresponsible and bellicose remarks and activities of the Indian NSA and BJP leadership causing instability in the neighbouring countries.

“India will find the leadership, the people and Armed Forces of Pakistan ready in the event of any misadventure against its territories as evidently demonstrated in February last year,” he said.