Pakistan asks India to guarantee basic rights of minorities

ISLAMABAD: Commenting on the eruption of violence in India over the slaughter of cows, the Foreign Office of Pakistan on Thursday said the country which claimed to be a secular state should guarantee the basic rights of minorities, particularly Muslims.

“Attacks on Muslims on the issue of cow slaughter are beyond comprehension and a cause of concern for the Muslim Ummah,” said the Foreign Office Spokesman Qazi Khalilullah.

Besides he said Pakistan was also looking into the issue of offloading passengers from the Samjhota Express at Wagah. He also expressed regrets that Pakistani artists were receiving threats in India and stressed that cultural exchanges were significant for better relations between the two countries.

To a question about nuclear cooperation, Qazi Khalilullah said Pakistan seeks cooperation of the international community, including the US, on civil nuclear energy. He said there should be a non-discriminatory approach on nuclear issues, including access to peaceful use of nuclear energy. He said the country was producing nuclear energy to meet its energy demands.

The spokesperson strongly rejected allegations that Pakistani agencies or forces were involved in attacks in Afghanistan. He condemned the occupation of Afghan territory by any group.

Qazi Khalilullah said Islamabad had been helping Kabul in countering terrorism and the development process. “We are in touch with the Afghan authorities to restore the trust level between the two countries,” he added.

He said Pakistan had supported the intra-Afghan dialogue process and also hosted the first round in Murree. He said if the two sides agreed, Pakistan was ready to facilitate them.

To a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its Forms and manifestations and will not tolerate the presence of Daesh or any of its associated groups on her land.

About the Russian airstrikes in Syria, the spokesperson stated Pakistan has a principled position on the issue based on neutrality, impartiality, and respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria.

Voicing concerns over the violence in Syria, he said the government and the opposition groups should settle their matters peacefully.

He maintained that Pakistan stands for a peaceful solution of the issue through dialogue led by the Syrian people.

Speaking about the Mina tragedy, the spokesperson said all-out efforts were being made to locate the 43 missing Pakistani pilgrims. He said according to the latest details, 89 Pakistani pilgrims were martyred and five others were wounded in the tragedy.

He reiterated that Saudi authorities extended full cooperation to Pakistan in identification of martyrs and finding of missing pilgrims.

He said Saudi Arabia had been making excellent Haj arrangements over the last many years and “we have full confidence in their abilities to manage this process.”

He maintained that the four-point initiative presented by Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif at the UN General Assembly was the way forward for reducing tensions and resolution of outstanding disputes between Pakistan and India.

Khalilullah said Pakistan had never shied away from talks with New Delhi as it had always insisted on negotiations on all issues, including the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.


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