FO spokesman says No move under way to recognise Israel

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan made it clear that there was no move under way to recognise Israel.

“…… such actions are part of baseless propaganda. There is no change in our policy. Our policy of non-recognition of Israel remains unchanged,” Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal told a weekly press briefing.

The remarks came in response to a question about whether Pakistan was planning to recognise Israel at a time when the subject of diplomatic ties with Israel — once a taboo issue — appears to be open for public discourse after a detailed article published in an Israeli paper is doing the rounds on social media.

Spokesman rejects reports Saudi and UAE FMs had said Kashmir dispute should not be linked to ummah

Asked to comment on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he would immediately annex a part of the occupied West Bank (Jordan Valley) if re-elected next week, Dr Faisal said: “We reject any such move which will be illegal and a dangerous escalation. While reaffirming our solidarity with the Palestinians, Pakistan reiterates its support for a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.”

About recent cancellation of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Taliban leaders at Camp David, he said Pakistan wanted all sides to exercise restraint and refrain from violence.

“We have encouraged and facilitated the Afghan peace process in good faith and as a shared responsibility. We shall continue to monitor the situation and urge all parties to return to the negotiations table to take the progress achieved in the talks so far to its logical conclusion.”

The FO spokesman said Pakistan has always maintained that the only solution to the Afghan conflict lies in a politically negotiated settlement led and owned by the Afghans themselves. A military-focused approach has failed to render the desired results. “We remain hopeful that the peace talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban would be resumed at the earliest and process will lead to intra-Afghan negotiations which are imperative for finding durable and sustainable peace in Afghanistan. We hope that the momentum, so generated, will be maintained by the international stakeholders for a peaceful outcome in Afghanistan.”

Kashmir dispute

He rejected as speculative the reports that the Saudi and UAE foreign ministers during their joint visit to Pakistan last week had emphasised that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute should not be linked to ummah.

“The legality and international legitimacy of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute is derived from the UNSC resolutions. This is a well-known fact. During the visit, the two ministers reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s and UAE’s solidarity with Pakistan and support for the Jammu & Kashmir cause,” he remarked.

Answering another question, he said many countries have offered mediation between Pakistan and India. “However, we cannot move forward unless India agrees to accept these offers.”

To another question, he said there was no backchannel diplomacy going on between Pakistan and India.

In response to a question, Dr Faisal said Pakistan has a considered position that the unilateral actions taken by India on Aug 5 were illegal and illegitimate. There should be no change in the status of the Jammu & Kashmir, as enshrined in the UNSC Resolutions.

In his opening remarks, he said the Indian occupation forces in their recent acts of state terrorism have martyred three Kashmiris in the so-called cordon and search operations, including Asrar Ahmad Khan, Reyaz Ahmad Thekri and Asif Maqbool Bhat in Handwara and Sopore towns of held Kashmir while hundreds have sustained injuries. There are reports of more deaths but due to complete communication blackout exact details are not coming out of the valley.

He said the India-held Kashmir remains under siege and cut off from the rest of the world for 40th consecutive days as the Indian occupation forces continue to impose an unprecedented military lockdown and total clampdown of both road networks and all means of communications, which risk lives of people. “These inhuman and unilateral actions by India are continuing without any respite despite international condemnation and censure.”