Let Neutral Int’l Observers Visit Kashmir: Pak

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 Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri | File Photo

Islamabad- Pakistan on Thursday urged India to let neutral international observers visit Kashmir and assess the situation on ground by free interaction with the Kashmiri people.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri made the comments during the weekly briefing here.

Envoys from several countries, including member states of the European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) visited Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday and Thursday to assess the ground situation in view of the efforts made to restore normalcy by strengthening democratically-elected local bodies.

India has told Pakistan that it has no locus standi to comment on internal affairs of India, asserting that the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been and will remain an integral part of the country.

Chaudhri said that India should allow UN observers, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission, and the international media to visit Kashmir and assess the situation on ground by free interaction with the Kashmiri people.

Earlier this month, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said that India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.

To a question about India prohibiting the Sikh Yatris to visit Pakistan for religious purposes, he said Pakistan provides maximum facilitation to the Sikh Yatris from all over the world, including India, for visiting their religious sites in Pakistan.

We believe that India should also facilitate Sikh Yatris for visiting their religious sites in Pakistan, Chaudhri said.

On Wednesday, India denied permission to around 600 Sikh pilgrims to visit Pakistan, citing the security and COVID-19 situation in the country.

Chaudhri said that a workshop on Exchange of Good Practices in tackling COVID Pandemic and the Way Forward was organised for SAARC member countries plus Mauritius and Seychelles in a virtual format.

In line with its policy of enhanced regional and international cooperation in dealing with the pandemic, Pakistan is also participating in the said workshop and sharing its good practices with the regional countries, he said.

Responding to a question about Afghan peace process, the spokesperson said Pakistan desires that the developments made so far toward durable peace in Afghanistan should be preserved and built upon. He said all the stakeholders in Afghanistan should seize the opportunity of reaching a long-lasting peace.

He said Head of Afghan Massoud Foundation, Ahmad Wali Massoud, along with his delegation, who arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday, met Prime Minister Imran Khan who reiterated his longstanding position that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a political solution is the only way forward.

The Prime Minister also underscored that all Afghan parties must work for reduction in violence leading to a ceasefire and conveyed that Pakistan would support whatever the Afghans agreed upon about the future of their country.

Chaudhri also said Prime Minister Khan is likely to visit Sri Lanka later this month. He said the two sides are currently working on the elements of the programme keeping in view the COVID-19 health related protocols.

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