US statement on Hizbul Mujahideen saddening: FO


ISLAMABAD, Aug 17 (TNS): Addressing a weekly media briefing, FO spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said on Thursday the United States’ decision to declare Hizbul Mujahideen, a specially designated terrorist organization is “saddening”.

“The Kashmiris’ struggle for their right to self-determination has been rightfully continuing for the past 70 years. It would be unjustifiable to declare organizations or groups supporting freedom struggle in Indian Occupied Kashmir as terrorists,” the spokesman said.

He said the whole world stands witness to the unlawful occupation of Kashmir by Indian Forces and the inhuman treatment faced by Kashmiris in the hands of Indian Forces. He said it is India which is to be held responsible for the continuous bloodshed in the held valley as six more Kashmiris were killed by Indian Forces during the last five days.

To a question, the Foreign Office spokesperson said India should realize that for the peace and security in the region and beyond, amicable settlement of disputes is the only panacea. He said the killing and illegal detentions of Kashmiri youth and Hurriyat leaders, rape of women and other atrocities meted out by Indian Forces in the held valley should immediately be ended to bring a negotiable solution to the problem.

Answering a question regarding Indian Prime Minister`s statement on Kashmir, Nafees Zakria said it endorses Pakistan’s stance that bloodshed in Kashmir will only aggravate the situation in Kashmir. He reiterated Pakistan`s resolve to continue its moral, diplomatic and political support to Kashmiri people`s just right of self-determination.

To another question regarding the extension of Pakistani` patients` visas by India, he said Pakistan expects India to act maturely in case of terminally ill persons and should not politicize the issue.

Nafees Zakria said Pakistan has long standing relations with the United States which are diverse in nature. The two sides hold regular meetings to enhance cooperation in different sectors including science, technology, environment and security.

He said Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif intends to visit the United States on invitation of US secretary of State Rex Tillerson who phoned him last week congratulating him on Pakistan`s 70th independence anniversary and also for assuming charge of Foreign Minister. The United States has always acknowledged Pakistan`s efforts in fighting terrorism and sacrifices rendered by its people and security forces in this war, he said.

Nafees Zakria said there is no iota of doubt that India finances and facilitates terror in Pakistan particularly in Baluchistan.

On Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua`s recent visit to Afghanistan, he said that a wide range of issues were discussed during the visit. These included people to people contact, border management, early repatriation and rehabilitation of refugees and continuing efforts for ensuring lasting peace and security in Afghanistan.

He said as the bilateral political consultations continue, the Foreign Secretary emphasized on an Afghan led peace solution as Pakistan believes there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict.