Women across the globe should take cognizance of their Kashmirs sisters’ Pakistan FO. The Pakistan - US Counter Terrorism Dialogue took place in Islamabad on 6-7 March 2023. The Pakistan side was led by Syed Haider Shah.

Women across the globe should take cognizance of their Kashmiri sisters’ plight & urge India to protect women’s rights in IIOJK: FO Spokesperson

Says for its part, Pak will continue to invite int’l community’s attention towards the grave situation of Kashmiri women in IIOJK

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch says we will also continue to extend political, diplomatic & moral support to our Kashmiri brothers & sisters

ISLAMABAD ( Web News )

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch has said that the women across the globe should take cognizance of their Kashmiri sisters’ plight and urge India to protect women’s rights in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). For its part, Pakistan will continue to invite the international community’s attention towards the grave situation of Kashmiri women in IIOJK, she said. Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that we will also continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters for the just and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

This was stated by FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch while addressing a weekly press briefing on Thursday.

FO spokesperson said that she will begin her press briefing with the visit of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif to Qatar on 5-6 March 2023. Emir of Qatar had extended an invitation to the Prime Minister to attend the 5thUnited Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as a special guest.

At the Conference, the Prime Minister presented Pakistan’s views on accelerating sustainable development in the Least Developed Countries and to help them make progress on the road to prosperity. He called for international support for LDCs in fighting climate change and overcoming economic challenges resulting from the pandemic and massive disruption in global supply chains.

In Doha, Prime Minister held a meeting with the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. A range of issues of bilateral significance were discussed including trade and investment and cooperation in energy sector.

She said that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is in New York to attend important events being held in connection with the Women’s Day. This includes participation in Commission for the status of Women (CSW), address in debates on Women issues at the UN Security Council and co-chairing events on Islamophobia and Women in Islam in his capacity as co-Chair of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.

She said that at the 67th Session of CSW, Foreign Minister has highlighted the importance of women empowerment and access to all levels of education and work. In his addresses at the United Nations Security Council Foreign Minister raised his voice for women suffering under foreign occupation, as manifest in Palestine and IIOJK. He called for the establishment of a monitoring mechanism for crimes committed against women and girls in territories under foreign occupation, including Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

In his remarks at the conference on “Women in Islam: Understanding the rights and Identity of women in the Islamic World”, the Foreign Minister underlined the importance of dispelling misperceptions about the rights, roles and identity of women in Muslim societies. He paid tribute to Muslim women who have made enormous contributions in all walks of life – education, enterprise, economics, politics and governance. He also spoke about the denial of religious and cultural rights to Muslim women in non-Muslim societies and negative stereotyping and discrimination against Muslim women.

Dr. Tobias Linder, Minister of State of Germany undertook a visit to Pakistan from 7-8 March 2023. This was his maiden visit to Pakistan. He held meetings with Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman and Minister for Commerce, Syed Naveed Qamar. Discussions focused on strengthening the multifaceted bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, higher education and vocational training, migration and mobility, and climate change and renewable energy. We are encouraged with our constructive engagement with Germany and will continue to pursue dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation.

The Pakistan – US Counter Terrorism Dialogue took place in Islamabad on 6-7 March 2023. The Pakistan side was led by Syed Haider Shah, Additional Foreign Secretary (UN&ED), while the US delegation was headed by Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Christopher Landberg. The discussions covered counter- terrorism cooperation at multilateral forums, assessment of regional counterterrorism landscape, cyber security and countering violent extremism. The US assistance projects in Pakistan were discussed with a particular focus on capacity building in anti-money laundering. The two sides shared their experiences in countering financing of terrorism and reaffirmed their commitment to address terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The last Counter-Terrorism Dialogue was held in 2016.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that on 7th March, Pakistan participated in the meeting of the Special Representatives of the Countries Neighboring Afghanistan in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Pakistan was represented by our Head of Mission in Uzbekistan where our delegation reaffirmed Pakistan’s preference for regional approaches to the situation in Afghanistan. The deliberations would set the stage for substantive outcomes during the Ministerial Meeting to be held next month in Tashkent.

She said that the Secretary General of D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation, Ambassador Isiaka Abdulqadir Imam is on a weeklong visit (4-11 March 2023) to Pakistan to undertake consultations on D8 Cooperation with Pakistan. He will meet with Foreign Secretary of Pakistan and engage with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He has attended a Meeting of D-8 Network of Pioneers for Research and Innovation (NPRI) and inaugurated the D-8 Research Center for Agriculture and Food Security in Faisalabad.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that as the International Women’s Day has been observed around the world. I would like to speak about the unending ordeal of the women in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), she said.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that at least 682 women civilians have been victims of extrajudicial killings by the Indian forces since January 2001. Instead of providing them protection, Indian security forces have molested or raped 11,256 women during the same period. Women constitute majority of the Kashmiri people suffering from psychiatric problems that are widespread in the climate of oppression and fear. Over two dozen women leaders and activists, including Asia Andrabi, remain incarcerated in different jails of IIOJK and New Delhi.

“I would like to announce that Government of Pakistan has acceded to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille Convention) of 1961. From now on, foreign public documents authenticated by Apostille can be directly presented to the concerned authorities without any other attestation requirement. We will be sharing further details shortly” she said.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that next week will be an active week for Pakistan’s diplomacy. Minister for State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will travel to Bahrain on 10 March to participate in the annual Manama Dialogue in Manama, Bahrain. She will attend round tables and panel discussions on regional security challenges and meet with participating leaders and government officials.

She said that the Minister of State will also undertake an official visit to London, UK, to attend the Commonwealth Day and Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM) from 13-15 March 2023 in London. She will also hold meetings with participating leaders of other Commonwealth countries on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting.

She said that UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan, Markus Potzel, is visiting Pakistan from 09-10 March 2023. He will call on the Foreign Secretary and exchange views on the situation in Afghanistan, with a special focus on the humanitarian situation and international assistance for the Afghan people. Pakistan considers UNAMA as an important partner in our international engagement efforts on Afghanistan.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that next week, two important dialogues will be held between Pakistan and the United States. These include the Energy Security Dialogue and the Climate and Environment Working Group.

She said that Energy Security Dialogue is scheduled for 15 March 2023. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources Assistant Secretary Geoffery Pyatt will lead the U.S. delegation. Secretary Power and Secretary Petroleum will lead from the Pakistan side.Discussions will be held on energy priorities, advancing the renewable energy transition, and economic and commercial opportunities in the energy sector.

She said that Climate and Environment Working Group meeting is scheduled for 16 March 2023.  The U.S. Department of State’s Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs (OEC) Monica Madina Assistant Secretary will lead the U.S. delegation. The two sides will discuss Pakistan’s climate priorities and energy transition, water management, climate smart agriculture, biodiversity and protected national areas, air quality, and solid waste management.

She said that this will be the second round for the Energy Security Dialogue and the Climate and Environment Working Group. The first rounds were held virtually in September 2021.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that in coming days bilateral dialogues will be held with countries in East Asia including Australia, China, Japan, and Malaysia.

She said that next week Pakistan and Australia will hold the 8thSession of Senior Officials Talks (SOTs) and the Trade Talks on 16th March 2023 in Islamabad. The two sides will review the bilateral relations and multilateral cooperation including matters relating to political, economic trade and investment, defence and security, educational and technical cooperation and people-to-people contacts.

She said that in the Trade Talks the two sides will discuss bilateral trade and investment cooperation between Pakistan and Australia.

“I would like to conclude by paying homage to women of Pakistan who have played a critical role in country’s development and economic growth. Throughout our history, women diplomats have played their part in this journey of development and represented Pakistan at the international stage with distinction. We celebrate their contributions and appreciate their dynamism” Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said.