ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Thursday expressed its hope that the United States President-elect Donald Trump will keep his word, and help resolve the Kashmir issue with India after assuming power in January. Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, while addressing a weekly news briefing here on Thursday, said that the new US president-elect had offered mediation between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir dispute during his campaign and “we welcomed that offer.” “Pakistan (has) said it looked forward to work closely with the new administration in the United States towards mutual benefits of both the countries,” he added. Zakaria said it would remain the endeavour of Pakistan to promote and strengthen the existing relationship in areas of common interest.
Responding to the queries about the victory of the Republican candidate in the US presidential elections, he said that Pakistan had multidimensional and strategic relationships with the US including economic, defence, science and technology, education, strategic issues, counter-terrorism and wanted to strengthen them further. He said that Pakistan leadership had congratulated Donald Trump on his election victory as US president. Pakistan’s statement came on the wake of various reports that suggest the new US president may favour India over its other long-time ally. Trump had once called Pakistan “probably the most dangerous country in the world.”
The US president-elect last month said that if elected, he would be willing to play the mediator in addressing the “very, very hot tinderbox” of Kashmir between Pakistan and India. “If it was necessary, I would do that. If we could get India and Pakistan getting along, I would be honoured to do that. That would be a tremendous achievement. I think if they wanted me to, I would love to be the mediator or arbitrator,” he had said. Earlier, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan expected the newly-elected US president to play his part in resolving the disputed issue of Kashmir. Sartaj Aziz said efforts would be made to enhance economic ties with the US, adding: “We will strive to make strategic dialogue more effective with the US.” Zakaria said Pakistan had always been demanding engagement of influential countries and the United Nations to solve the decades-old dispute, which had the potential to trigger war. Pakistan and India have already fought three wars over the issue.
The spokesperson said the Kashmiri people were rendering sacrifices for their right of self determination. He said that Pakistan was concerned over “continued atrocities by Indian forces” in Kashmir and it would continue to raise “Indian brutalities” and human rights violations at international fora. The spokesperson said Pakistan would continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to the just cause of Kashmiris. He condemned the detention and torture of the Kashmiri leaders including Yasin Malik, Ali Gilani and others. The spokesperson criticised British Prime Minister Theresa May for not highlighting the Kashmir issue during her visit to India as Islamabad expected the United Kingdom to play a major role in resolution of the issue. To a question, the spokesperson said six out of eight Indian diplomats found involved in subversive activities in Pakistan had left Pakistan. Balbir Singh – posted as first secretary, press and culture) and Jayabalan Senthil – assistant, personnel welfare office – took flight EK-615 for Dubai. Amerdeep Singh Bhatti (Attaché Visa), Rajesh Kumar Agnihotri (Commercial Counsellor RAW’s station chief) and Dharmendra Sodhi left via Wagah Border.
Regarding the killing of Muslims in fake encounters in India, Zakaria said international community had serious concern over situation of Muslims and other minorities in India. He said international human rights organisations had documented scores of fake encounters in India. “We will also present the dossiers against India for promoting terrorism at an appropriate time,” Zakaria added. Regarding violation of Indus Waters Treaty by India, he said Pakistan had approached the World Bank for establishing a Court of Arbitration. The spokesperson said Pakistan was looking forward for establishment of the Court at the earliest in line with the Indus Waters Treaty. He said India had not fulfilled its promise for investigations into Samjhota Express incident. The spokesperson pointed out that the perpetrators of the incident had made public confession in which eight serving army officers were involved. “India did not share anything with us. Pakistan time and again raised this issue bilaterally and on various forums,” the spokesperson said. He said that the prime minister’s special envoys on Kashmir had also projected the issue at the international level. Zakaria said corruption and fake currency trade was at its peak in India. “Though this is India’s internal matter, but this money is also used to promote terrorism in Pakistan,” he contended.
The foreign office spokesperson said eight leaders and commanders of the Haqqani network had been killed since July 6 this year in Afghanistan. He said this was reflective of where the leaders of Haqqani network were at the moment. Zakaria said Pakistan wanted peace and stability in Afghanistan and in this context it was committed to help all the initiatives aimed at bringing peace in the war-torn country. He said peace and stability in Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan and the entire region.