Relations with Russia ‘robust’

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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Wednesday said Pakistan’s position on the Ukraine dispute was one of maintaining strict neutrality.

“We continue to discuss matters of mutual interest and we believe that Russia understands that Pakistan has taken a neutral stance on the dispute between Russia and Ukraine,” spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch at her weekly news conference.

She was responding to a question on ties with Russia following a recent news report of The Intercept, a US publication, claiming that Pakistan supplied weapons to Ukraine via the United States in order to secure the IMF deal.

The publication backed its claims by two sources with knowledge of the arrangement, saying that internal documents from both the Pakistani and American governments confirm the development.
The spokesperson said both the countries had a very robust dialogue and a number of visits and exchanges had taken place.

To a question on the meetings of the US ambassador to senior officials of the Election Commission and police and also his visit to Gwadar, she said the foreign ambassadors in Pakistan are “at liberty to meet the government officials and public figures just as our ambassadors do” in their countries of postings.

She said Turkiye was Pakistan’s “old friend and brother”, while referring to the address of Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the UN General Assembly session, where he supported the Kashmir cause and proposed talks between Pakistan and India.

“Turkiye always has had a principle stance on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute (J&K) and they are equally pained with the plight of Kashmiri people,” she said while addressing a weekly news conference.

Baloch said Pakistan is ready to hold talks with India on all disputes, especially the core dispute of J&K. “With regard to third-party mediation, Pakistan has always said that we would welcome it on the J&K issue on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions and in accordance with the principles of international law,” she said.

Pakistan, she said, would continue to raise India’s state-sponsorship of terrorism in Pakistan and its suppression of the people of IIOJK. She said human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) continue unabated.

During the first eight months of this year, the Indian occupation forces in IIOJK killed 68 Kashmiris, including women and children with 13 custodial killings. Also, 2,900 persons including political activists, businesspeople, women, and youth were arbitrarily arrested.

Asked about Pakistan’s position on the escalation in Nagorno Karabakh issue, Baloch said Pakistan reaffirms its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, considering Karabakh its sovereign territory.

On the PM’s visit to New York to participate in the UNGA, she said a small delegation accompanied him including the foreign minister, foreign secretary, and some senior officials.

In his upcoming address on September 22, she said the prime minister would outline Pakistan’s perspective on a range of regional and global issues, including the longstanding unresolved Jammu and Kashmir dispute on the UN Agenda.

“He will also share the measures taken by Pakistan to consolidate economic recovery and efforts to mobilize domestic and external investments,” she said.

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