No talks held for Shakil Afridi at any forum: FM

FO summons Indian deputy high commissioner over ceasefire violations

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WASHINGTON / ISLAMABAD
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government ended Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation in the world and laid the foundation for a new era in Pak-US ties.
Talking to journalists, FM Qureshi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the US opened a new chapter of cooperation between the two countries. He said that said that the US acknowledged PM Imran’s vision and moved towards political resolution of the Afghan conflict.
The foreign minister said that over 41 US Congress members became the part of Pakistan’s narrative during the visit. He said, PM Imran Khan effectively presented Pakistan’s narrative during his meetings with US President Donald Trump at the White House. FM Qureshi said that they held dialogues with the US leadership on the basis of equality.
Earlier on July 22, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said Pakistan desired peace and stability in the region. He was addressing the gathering of Pakistani diaspora in the Washington DC Qureshi had said we are not here for aid but here to discuss trade opportunities with the US. Acknowledging overseas Pakistani’s contribution to the economy of the country, he had said remittances in the last fiscal year had increased nine to ten percent.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday clarified that the government has not held any discussions over Shakil Afridi at any forum during the ongoing visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the United States (US). While talking to news channel Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that PM Imran Khan’s ongoing visit is going on in a positive direction. However, the foreign minister revealed that PM Khan had said that the government could consider swapping Aafia Siddiqui and Shakil Afridi.
A new era is opening during the US visit as the government is moving towards the future after forgetting the past’s differences, said Qureshi. He further said that PM Khan will now address Congress members at Capitol Hill. He added that a large number of Congress members will attend the address which has never happened before in history. It is pertinent to mention here that PM Imran Khan had replied to a question after meeting the US President Donald Trump for holding discussions over the case of Aafia Siddiqui. Later, the premier had also hinted during a special interview to US media to swap Shakil Afridi with the imprisoned Pakistani woman Aafia Siddiqui.
Meanwhile, Foreign Office on Wednesday summoned Indian deputy high commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia over ceasefire violations by the Indian forces along Line of Control (LoC). The ceasefire violations took place on July 22 and 23 in Bagsar Sector along the LoC wherein 12-year old boy and a woman was martyred and four citizens got injured. As per details, the Indian deputy high commissioner was summoned by Director General South Asia and Foreign Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal, to record protest over the ceasefire violations. Dr Faisal urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 Ceasefire arrangement; investigate these and other incidents of ceasefire violations to maintain peace on the LoC and the Working Boundary.

The Indian forces along the LoC and the Working boundary are continuously targeting civilian populated areas with heavy weapons.
This unprecedented escalation in ceasefire violations by India is continuing from the year 2017 when the Indian forces committed 1970 ceasefire violations. Earlier, on July 3, at least five soldiers of the Pakistan Army were martyred and one was injured in an explosion near the Line of Control (LoC). The incident is evidence of state-sponsored terrorism by India violating bilateral ceasefire agreement and the international rules, ISPR had said in a statement.

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