ISLAMABAD - Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit on Friday said Islamabad had asked some European countries, which gave asylum to Baloch separatists, not to allow anti-Pakistan secessionist activities within their territories.
Describing it as an internal problem, he told reporters during a weekly media briefing that Pakistan had been handling the situation politically in accordance with its own laws, priorities and constitution. “We are cognizant of the developments in Balochistan and necessary steps have also been taken,” he said, adding that Pakistan had raised the question with the countries concerned and a demarche was issued to the ambassador of Switzerland in Islamabad, while the issue had also been raised with the British government.
“The Foreign Office and our missions abroad are engaged actively in order to ensure that the issue is not portrayed in any other context by the detractors,” he added. On the US request for opening its consulate in Quetta, the spokesman said the US embassy had filed an application for the purpose, but no decision was made yet.
Reiterating Pakistan’s official position, Basit categorically rejected the Indian media reports that the core issue of Kashmir was being put on the back burner. “There is no question of freezing this issue or putting this core dispute on the back burner. Realistically speaking, it cannot be done,” he responded to a query.
He said the dispute was about the people of Kashmir. “It is about their inalienable right to self-determination. There is, therefore, no question of freezing this issue.” The spokesman said that Kashmiris have given enormous sacrifices in their legitimate struggle and the democratic government and the people of Pakistan strongly believed that the settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions is essential for viable peace in south Asia.
“Certainly, we are taking steps on the path to normalize Pakistan-India relations, but reaching the final destination will inevitably be contingent upon realisation of Kashmiris’ aspirations”, he added.
He said United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Margaret Sekaggya in her address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 5 urged the Indian government to repeal, among others, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act.
Answering another question about resolution of Siachen dispute, the spokesman hoped that the issue would be resolved as quickly as possible, adding that it was part of the resumed dialogue process with India.
“We are looking forward to the resolution of this issue as well as all the other bilateral issues, including the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir”, he added.
Answering a question on the US threats to attack Iran, Basit said Pakistan would like to hope that all concerned parties would exercise utmost restraint and avoid escalatory steps. “We will continue to encourage all the parties to resolve differences through dialogue,” he said.
Agencies add: Responding to a question, Basit said he was unaware of any Track-II discussions that were part of efforts to resolve issues between India and Pakistan.
“I am not aware of any such discussions as part of Pakistan’s policy decisions but these contacts have been made, discussions are being held but perhaps in their private capacity.”
“There is no government policy as far as these discussions are concerned,” he said.
India and Pakistan last year resumed their peace process after a break of over two years in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Since then, the two sides have taken several steps to normalise relations in various fields, particularly trade.