Pakistan honours int’l obligations: FO defends action against May 9 protestors

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will follow its laws and its international obligations, in bringing to justice individuals responsible for the events of May 9, maintained the Foreign Office on Thursday during its weekly press briefing.

Responding to a question about the US State Department’s request about provision of consular access to the suspect of May9 vandalism, Khadija Shah, and requests considering other dual nationals who have been detained, FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that requests have been received and forwarded to the Ministry of Interior.

The spokesperson was asked “whether the government of Pakistan is willing to provide Consular Access to her and any other person because many dual nationals are involved in the unfortunate incidents of 9th May”.

Tho FO was further asked that many suspects of May 9 had either fled the country or were hiding abroad as they hold dual nationalities, is Pakistan also seeking their custody or any access to those who have fled this country.

To this, Baloch replied, “On both your questions, I would like to underline that Pakistan will follow its laws and its international obligations, in bringing to justice individuals responsible for the events of 9th May. We have received the requests that you have mentioned, and those requests have been sent from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Interior, which takes final decision in such cases”.

She reiterated her previous stance, stressing that “the characters involved in the events of May 9 are being brought to justice according to the law”.

“Pakistan is a country governed by Constitution and law. Basic rights are available to all citizens in Pakistan,” she added, “the government of Pakistan is fulfilling all local laws and international commitments.”

Baloch once again rejected “baseless allegations of human rights violations in Pakistan”.

The US had called on Pakistan to grant consular access to Khadija Shah, a prominent fashion designer with dual citizenship who has been detained in the wave of arrests that happened in the aftermath of May 9 protests.

The US State Department had said its diplomats have not had access to Shah who was produced before an anti-terrorism court following her arrest.

“We have asked Pakistani officials for consular access to her,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel had told reporters, confirming Shah’s dual nationality.

“Whenever a US citizen is arrested overseas, we stand ready to provide all appropriate assistance and we expect Pakistani authorities to respect all fair-trial guarantees owed to these detainees,” Patel had said.

During the media briefing, the spokesperson also revealed that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had completed his first visit to Iraq where he met government officials and members of the business community.

“Pakistan has assured all possible support for reconstruction and peace in Iraq,” said Baloch.

“Tripartite dialogue on counter-terrorism are also underway between Pakistan, China and Iran,” she said, “a Pakistani delegation is being led by the DG Counter-Terrorism in Beijing for the talks”.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar is in Europe where she will be visiting Norway, Belgium and Sweden, the FO spokesperson said.

Additionally, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani is on an important visit to Russia. “The purpose of the Senate chairman’s visit is to improve Pakistan-Russia relations,” the spokesperson said.

Notably, the Russia-Ukraine war has taken centre stage in conversations surrounding the G20 which groups 19 rich nations of the world plus the EU. India holds the presidency of the grouping for 2023 and is holding a series of events in various parts of the country that would culminate in the G20 summit in New Delhi later this year.

Pakistan had protested the holding of May 22-24 conference on tourism in Srinagar where the friendly countries of China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others had joined in by shunning the gathering.

The FO spokesperson today said that the “persecution by Indian forces in Kashmir continues. Incidents of firing on youths, especially children, are continuing in Kashmir”.

“Pakistan once again demands from the international community that the Kashmir issue should be resolved according to the UN resolutions,” said Baloch.





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