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We reiterate our concerns about the safety & wellbeing of Kashmiri leaders. Pakistan

We reiterate our concerns about the safety & wellbeing of Kashmiri leaders & human rights defenders: Mumtaz Zahra Baloch

Says terrifying rise in Islamophobic & hateful acts against Muslims in India is a consequence of pursuit of a majoritarian Hindutva agenda

Condemns the latest attack of Israeli forces on Palestinians offering prayers in Al Aqsa mosque

ISLAMABAD ( Web News )

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch has said that we reiterate our concerns about the safety and wellbeing of Kashmiri leaders and human rights defenders who are under incarceration in prisons across Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and India.

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

“Today, I would like to begin my statement by expressing our deep concerns at the alarming rise in violence against Muslims in today’s India” Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said.

She said that on this Ram Navami, anti-Muslim violence was reported in at least eight states of India as extremist outfits organized public rallies to celebrate the festival. A number of mosques and other Muslim-owned buildings were attacked. A seminary was burned down in Nalanda district of Bihar, resulting, inter alia, in burning of around 4500 books, including Holy the Quran.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that the terrifying rise in Islamophobic and hateful acts against Muslims in India is a consequence of the pursuit of a majoritarian Hindutva agenda and anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric rife in Indian politics.

“We welcome the statement of OIC expressing its concern on rising anti-Muslim incidents in India and urge India to take firm action against the extremists for fomenting communal violence and hatred against Muslims. India must take demonstrable steps to curb the rising tide of Islamophobia, to provide protection to Muslims for practicing their faith and account those responsible for such hateful acts” she said.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that we welcome the statement of United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Mary Lawlor and endorsed by Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Clément Nyaletsossi Voule.

She said that the Special Rapporteur has highlighted the continuing repression of Kashmiri civil society in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). She has explained how the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is being applied to smear and silence the civil society, media, and human rights defenders. She has urged India to end its crackdown against Kashmiri human rights defenders.

“We endorse her statement that India must be held accountable where it violates human rights obligations. We also urge India to bring an end to suppression of journalists and human rights defenders and to its policy of stifling freedom of expression and assembly in the occupied territory” Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said.

She said that Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Professor Ahsan Iqbal is on an official visit to China. In China, the Minister attended the Annual Conference of the Boao Forum for Asia and presented Pakistan’s perspective on Belt and Road Initiative and CPEC. He expressed Pakistan’s desire to jointly explore opportunities for shared growth for developing countries with critical investments to fill economic gaps.

She said that the Minister’s meetings with senior government officials focused on high-quality development of CPEC which is marking a decade of its inception. The visit underscores the importance both countries attach to realizing the full potential of CPEC and bilateral development cooperation. The visit concludes on Wednesday.

She said that on 3 April 2023, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Culture, Engr. Amir Muqam, virtually participated in the SCO Ministers of Culture Meeting hosted by India. He highlighted Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage and underlined the need for promoting cultural exchanges and cooperation under the SCO framework to foster mutual understanding. As an active member of SCO, Pakistan will continue to participate in all SCO activities and continuously contribute to their outcomes.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch announced that our High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ambassador Amna Baloch has been appointed as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union. Ambassador Amna Baloch is a senior Foreign Service officer with vast diplomatic experience in Pakistani Missions in Denmark, Sri Lanka, China and Malaysia. Before her current assignment, she served as Consul General at Chengdu, China. She is expected to take up her assignment shortly.

To a question about latest attack of Israeli forces on Palestinians offering prayers in Al Aqsa mosque, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Pakistan condemns the attack and urges international community to take immediate action to end these inhuman actions against unarmed Palestinians.

She said this continuous pattern of Israeli oppression not only violates the religious freedom of Palestinians but also hurts religious sentiments of Muslims around the world.

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