- Pakistan challenges India to carry out free, fair plebiscite in Kashmir
- Condemns Indian atrocities, unlawful arrest of Hurriyat leaders
- Dr Faisal says Indian arms buildup pushing region into arms race
ISLAMABAD: After World Bank’s refusal to Pakistan’s request to set up a court of arbitration on controversial Kishenganga dam, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal on Thursday said that there is no doubt that it is World Bank’s responsibility to empanel the court of arbitration as envisaged in the Indus Waters Treaty.
Earlier, the World Bank had asked Pakistan to accept India’s offer of appointing a “neutral expert” in Kishanganga dam dispute, instead of pursuing its stand of referring the dispute to the International Court of Arbitration (ICA).
In a fresh communication last week, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim advised the government to withdraw from its stand of taking the matter to the ICA for which the bank had on November 10, 2016, even picked a US chief justice, the rector of Imperial College, London, and the WB president for appointing chairman of the court to resolve the dispute over the dam.
Pakistan would, however, continue to agitate this issue with the World Bank, he said. “For Pakistan, water is its jugular vein as we are largely an agrarian economy,” he added.
The FO spokesman also challenged India to let the United Nations carry out a free and fair plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir as per the United Nations’ (UN) resolutions to help ascertain whether Kashmiris want to join Pakistan or India.
Speaking at the weekly briefing at the Foreign Office (FO), the spokesman said, “Indian objections to Gilgilt-Baltistan (GB) Order are preposterous and without any legal basis. I challenge India to let the UN carry out a free and fair plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, as envisaged in the UNSC resolutions, so that the Kashmiris are able to decide their future as per their aspirations.”
“Pakistan is confident that Jammu and Kashmir would side with Pakistan,” Dr Faisal said while responding to a question about Indian objections to the GB Order during the briefing.
“This is what generates fear in the hearts of the Indian establishment. The Kashmiris would never change their principled position despite grave human rights violations being perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces,” he said.
Responding to a threat of attacking Pakistan by BJP president, the spokesman said that Pakistan is ready to defend its borders.
“Any Indian misadventure shall be given a befitting response. Pakistan wants to live in peace, however, if aggression is thrust upon us, it would be duly punished. Let there be no mistake. We expect maturity from India in this regard.”
The spokesman also condemned continued and unabated atrocities by the Indian occupation forces in Kashmir.
“During last week, the Indian forces martyred seven innocent Kashmiris. On May 31, the Indian occupation forces martyred two innocent Kashmiris in a fake operation in Kupwara district. After the use of human shields, bullets and pellets, India is now using new inhuman methods of crushing Kashmiri youth under heavy vehicles,” he said
“It is highly condemnable that Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) ran a jeep over 24-year-old Kaiser Ahmad during protests after Friday prayers, who succumbed to injuries in Nowhatta area of Srinagar,” he added.
He also condemned the unlawful arrest and detention of Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Masarat Alam Butt, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Syeda Aasiya Andrabi, Fehmida Sofi and hundreds of Hurriyat leaders and activists.
“In particular, Shabbir Ahmad Shah is held in India’s notorious Tihar jail, which has virtually become a death trap for Kashmiri political prisoners. The solitary confinement has taken a toll on his health. He has become so frail and fragile that he is not even able to stand. He is also suffering from various acute ailments and Indian jail authorities have been denying him proper medicines and basic health facilities,” Dr Faisal added.
The doctors have advised Shah’s instant angiography but his family’s repeated requests for his urgent treatment have been purposely ignored by the Indian authorities, much to the detriment of his health and life. This prisoner of conscience needs the attention of the international community, especially the human rights defenders, the FO spokesman said.
He also informed that President Mamnoon Hussain will visit China on June 9, 2018, to attend Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Qingdao, China. The president will also meet his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, to discuss all issues of mutual concern including bilateral, regional and international issues will be discussed during the meeting.
“Bilateral political matters, progress of CPEC projects, economic and commercial relations, defence relations and other areas of bilateral relations will also be discussed”.
The president will also have sideline meetings with the leadership of SCO member countries.
“The Heads of State Summit is the highest forum of SCO and takes place annually. The president, during his stay in China, will have several bilateral meeting with other heads of states attending the summit.”
The spokesman also said that Pakistan and Russia are strong partners in the field of energy and the two countries have concluded various proposals in the energy sector including construction of North-South Gas Pipeline, import of LNG from Russia, installation of air mix plant, establishing a 600MW combined cycle power plant etc.
About India’s missile test, the spokesman said that Indian arms buildup has pushed the region into a vicious arms race.
“India’s hegemonic designs are a cause of serious concern not only to Pakistan but also to the entire region. Indian thirst for becoming a regional hegemon is casting a dark shadow on South Asia but Pakistan’s forces are ready to defend our borders against any threat,” Dr Faisal concluded.