PM Imran to address rally in AJK on Feb 5: FM
Pakistan categorically rejects CPEC related claims: FO
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has announced a vigorous campaign to effectively highlight the Kashmir cause on both domestic and international fronts, as well as counter Indian propaganda about the held valley, which was stripped of its autonomous status on August 5 last year.
“This campaign would start from January 25 and continue till February 5 [Kashmir Day],” Qureshi told a press conference here on Thursday. He was flanked by prime minister’s aide on information Firdous Ashiq Awan and communications minister Murad Saeed.
Kashmir, Qureshi said, had never been raised as effectively as it was done after the unilateral change in IOK’s special status. “As part of the campaign the plight of Kashmiris would be highlighted in all forms of media including print, electronic and digital on January 25.”
The foreign minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the AJK legislative assembly in Muzaffarabad on February 5. “On the same day the premier will also address a public gathering in Mirpur to express solidarity with the Kashmiris,” he said.
As part of the initiative, he added, a Kashmir Day event would be held at the President House in Islamabad where “entire diplomatic corps would be invited and documentaries on the Kashmir struggle would be screened to apprise them of the plight of Kashmiris”. Explaining the objective of campaign, Qureshi said New Delhi and its media was trying to portray that the situation in IOK had been normalised which was not true. “The President and Prime Minister of AJK would write letters to different heads of states, requesting them to push India to lift the curfew and communication blackout in IOK,” he added. The foreign minister said photo exhibitions would be organised in major art galleries across the country to display the “struggle and sufferings of Kashmiris”.
Like every year, Qureshi added, a human chain would be formed in AJK to give a message to Kashmiris that “their Pakistani brethren are standing by them in the hour of need”.
Besides, he said, Kashmir solidarity rallies would also be taken out in all provinces, and requested the provincial chief ministers to lead the rallies.
Earlier, Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui has categorically rejected as baseless the claims that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is always in the form of loans or non-concessional financing with sovereign guarantees.
Responding to the queries of media persons at her weekly news briefing here on Thursday regarding US Ambassador Alice Wells recent remarks against the corridor project, clarified that the total CPEC debt is about 4.9 billion dollars which is not even the ten percent of the country’s total debt.
The spokesperson said that the CPEC is a long term project negotiated through a multi-layered process. It has helped Pakistan to address development gaps in energy, infrastructure, industrialization and job creation. She stressed that it should be perceived in terms of enormous economic benefits for the people of Pakistan and social economic development. She said we believe it is also beneficial for regional connectivity and prosperity.
The spokesperson said Pakistan and China are all weather strategic cooperative partners. The CPEC is a transformational project for Pakistan and its expeditious completion is our top priority. In that regard , a CPEC authority has recently been established to oversee completion of the projects.
Aisha Farooqui said that twelve corridor related power projects have either been completed or are under construction with the total capacity of seven thousand two hundred and forty megawatts with an investment of 12.4 billion dollars. Another nine power projects are at an early stage with the capacity of six thousand three hundred and ninety megawatt. She pointed out that these energy projects contribute over fourteen percent of the total energy supplies in Pakistan. She said these projects have also paid about two hundred and fifty million dollars in taxes during the construction phase and have created over ten thousand jobs. She said all countries are welcomed to invest in special economic zones of CPEC.
Responding to a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan has taken a whole range of steps to meet the requirements of the FATF. He said we remain closely engaged with the FATF members including the United States.
Aisha Farooqui said Pakistan welcomes US President Donald Trump’s mediation offer on Kashmir dispute and hoped these will be translated into some actions. When asked about the induction of S-400 Air Defense system by India, Aisha Farooqui said Pakistan has repeatedly expressed concerns over the induction of ballistic missile defense system in our region. She said such destabilizing systems can undermine regional stability and may lead to an unnecessary arms race. She said Pakistan has proposed discussion on a strategic restraint regime for South Asia which includes the proposal to avoid the induction of the destabilizing weapons.
The spokesperson said the induction of ballistic missile defense system by India should not lead to any false sense of security and any misadventure since Pakistan has the technological capability to ensure the continued efficacy of its deterrence.
She expressed the confidence that extra regional countries will be mindful of the legitimate security concerns of Pakistan.
To a question, the spokesperson reiterated support for one China Policy saying there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it.