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Pakistan urges India to allow neutral international observers to visit Kashmir

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Pakistan on Thursday urged India to allow neutral international observers to visit Kashmir and assess the situation on the ground through free interaction with the Kashmiri people.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri made the comments during the weekly briefing here.

Envoys from several countries, including member states of the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), visited Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday and Thursday to assess the situation on the ground in the light of efforts to restore normality by strengthening democratically elected local bodies.

India has told Pakistan that it has no locus standi to comment on India’s internal affairs, claiming that the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were and will remain an integral part of the country.

Chaudhri said India should allow UN observers, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OIC Independent Standing Commission on Human Rights and international media to visit Kashmir and assess the situation on the ground through free interaction with the Kashmiri people.

Earlier this month, Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said India wanted normal neighborly relations with Pakistan in an environment free from terror, hostility and violence.

When asked about India banning Sikh Yatris from traveling to Pakistan for religious purposes, he said Pakistan makes it as easy as possible for Sikh Yatris from all over the world, including India, to visit their religious sites in Pakistan. .

We believe India should also help Sikh Yatris to visit their religious sites in Pakistan, Chaudhri said.

India on Wednesday refused permission for around 600 Sikh pilgrims to travel to Pakistan, citing the security and COVID-19 situation in the country.

Chaudhri said that a workshop on the exchange of good practices in the fight against the COVID pandemic and the way forward has been organized for the member countries of the ASACR as well as Mauritius and the Seychelles in a virtual format.

In accordance with its policy of strengthening regional and international cooperation in the face of the pandemic, Pakistan is also participating in the workshop and sharing its good practices with countries in the region, he said.

Responding to a question on the Afghan peace process, the spokesperson said Pakistan wanted the developments made so far towards lasting peace in Afghanistan to be preserved and built upon. He said all stakeholders in Afghanistan should seize the opportunity to achieve lasting peace.

He said that the head of the Afghan Massoud Foundation, Ahmad Wali Massoud, along with his delegation, which arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday, met with Prime Minister Imran Khan who reiterated his long-standing position that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a political solution is the only way forward.

The Prime Minister also stressed that all Afghan parties must work to reduce violence leading to a ceasefire and said Pakistan will support whatever the Afghans agree on the future of their country.

Chaudhri also said Prime Minister Khan would likely visit Sri Lanka later this month. He said the two sides were currently working on elements of the program taking into account the health-related protocols of COVID-19.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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