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Premier to visit China

PM’s China visit to advance cooperation: FO

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is scheduled to visit China next week which, the Foreign Office spokesperson said, would mark the conclusion of MoUs and agreements in diverse areas and help advance the agenda of bilateral cooperation.

In his weekly press briefing, spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said the visit scheduled on November 1-2, was expected to advance wide-ranging bilateral cooperation agenda in which two sides would review the All-Weather Strategic Cooperation Partnership and exchange views on regional and global developments.

He said the visit would also help consolidate the momentum of CPEC cooperation in wake of the 11th meeting of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) held on Thursday, in which both sides expressed satisfaction over the ongoing projects under CPEC while several new projects were also proposed.

The prime minister, to be accompanied by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, would meet with President Xi Jinping and hold delegation-level talks with Premier Li Keqiang.

He said Prime Minister Shehbaz would be among the first world leaders to visit China after the 20th CPC Congress, and this would be the prime minister’s first official bilateral visit to China.

“I think this visit is going to be another milestone in further strengthening of Pakistan-China relation and our collective vision about the prosperity and development of our two peoples and for Pakistan-China to continue to work together for the peace and stability of the region,” spokesperson Asim Iftikhar added.

The spokesperson initiated his remarks by expressing condolences over the “shocking and untimely” death of prominent journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya and apprised the newsmen how the Foreign Office remained engaged with the Kenyan authorities on the matter.

He said as Pakistan had formally requested the Kenyan government for a detailed investigation and the government also formed a two-member team to ascertain the facts related to the murder which would reach Kenya on Friday night.

“We need to wait for the reports of the investigation, what the Kenyan authorities will formally come up with and what this team will report back,” the spokesperson remarked.

He said at present, there was no mutual legal assistance (MLA) treaty between Pakistan and Kenya, but “we have been assured of full cooperation in this matter.”

Asked whether the Foreign Minister wrote any letter to UAE authorities to expel Arshad Sharif from UAE or to send him back to Pakistan, the spokesperson said :“There is no such letter to our knowledge. I would like to say very clearly, this is absolutely baseless; there is no truth in it whatsoever.”

Referring to the observance of Kashmir Black Day on Thursday, the spokesperson said the country’s leadership, foreign ministry and its missions abroad, through multiple events, underscored Pakistan’s principled position, and resolve to support the Kashmiri people, and called upon the international community to play its due role in urging India to end its illegal occupation, halt massive human rights violations and cease repressive measures against the Kashmiris.

On Black Day, the foreign secretary briefed the resident ambassadors of OIC, P-5 and European countries on the egregious human rights situation in IIOJK. The foreign minister addressed letters to the President of the UN General Assembly, President of the Security Council, UN Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the OIC Secretary-General.

“The situation remains grave meanwhile in the IIOJK. We condemn the recent killings of civilians in fake encounters in Shopian and Kupwara districts. Also condemnable is the stopping of Kashmiri photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo at Delhi airport to prevent her traveling to New York to receive her Pulitzer Prize,” he told the newsmen.

The spokesperson also expressed concerns over the recent attack and ransacking of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference head office in Srinagar by Hindutva fanatics supported by the Indian Army.

He also apprised the media of the prime minister’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia on October 24, where he held consultations with the Saudi Crown Prince and attended the Saudi Future Investment Initiative Summit.

Regarding Pakistan’s removal from FATF grey list, the spokesperson said in its plenary meeting held in Paris, the Financial Action Task Force decided by consensus that Pakistan had completed all “substantial, technical and procedural” requirements of both 2018 and 2021 Action Plans.

And as a result, Pakistan has been taken off the list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring, with immediate effect, he remarked.

Asked to comment on the Indian propaganda on Pakistan’s exclusion from FATF grey list, he said “India is isolated in FATF due to its anti-Pakistan and irresponsible posture that has found no takers or backers. We have repeatedly brought to the attention of FATF India’s breach of confidentiality requirements and they have taken serious note of it. Pakistan’s success testifies to the fact that India’s politicization efforts in FATF have eventually failed.”

“Let me also emphasize here that India with a tainted track record in AML/CFT domain is in no position to define “global interest” and should desist from rendering unsolicited advice for Pakistan on this account. A country with proven credentials of state-sponsored terrorism in IIOJK and against Pakistan, needs to mend its own ways before pointing fingers at others,” the spokesperson commented.

About the election of the new UK prime minister, the spokesperson said the Pak-UK ties continued to grow irrespective of whosoever is in power in the UK. The Prime Minister has congratulated Rishi Sunak on becoming the leader of the Conservative Party and the Prime Minister of the UK.

“Prime Minister Shehbaz is also looking forward to working with PM Sunak to advance shared interests and further deepen the abiding Pakistan-UK partnership,” he remarked. | YouTube Channel

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.