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Monday, May 27, 2024

FO urges India to issue visas for World Cup

Spokesperson says Pakistan and GCC have concluded FTA negotiations

The Foreign Office said on Thursday Pakistan was in contact with the Indian authorities and urged them to issue visas to Pakistani spectators and journalists, who wished to see the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Balochi told her weekly news briefing that Pakistan team was visiting India not for a bilateral cricket series and thus had every right to participate in the international series.

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Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Balochi said that it was the responsibility of the host country to provide security, and conducive environment for the Pakistan cricket team. The spokesperson emphasised that sports should not be mixed with politics.

Responding to a question, the spokesperson said that the foreign ministry had received a formal communication from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for inviting the international election observers. She added that the process would be done in accordance with the policy and past practice.

Responding to a question, Baloch stated that Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had concluded negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – the first such agreement concluded by the GCC with any country since 2009.

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“We look forward to the early signing, ratification, and implementation of the agreement which we believe will contribute to growth and mutual prosperity and mark a new chapter in economic relations between Pakistan and GCC,” she said.\On Palestine, Baloch said that Pakistan’s policy was clear that it supported the two-state solution on the basis of pre-1967 borders.

In capacity as the coordinator of the Geneva-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Group, she said, Pakistan co-organised with the OIC Observer Mission in Geneva an event titled ‘Mapping the Efficacy of Normative Framework on Religious Discrimination, Intolerance, and Hatred’.

According to Baloch, the event aimed at raising awareness about the growing phenomenon of religious discrimination, intolerance, and hatred and the need for strengthening the normative framework for its redressal from a human rights perspective.

The spokesperson said that the Indian forces continued to commit serious human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). In September, she continued, the Indian troops killed 13 Kashmiris in extra-judicial killings and arrested 157 civilians and activists.

Those arrested were mostly booked under the draconian laws promulgated by the occupation authorities in IIOJK, such as the Public Safety Act (PSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), she said.

She added that such oppressive measures and human rights violations must end and the Kashmiri leaders be set free so that the Kashmiri people could freely exercise their right to self-determination.