Sharif miffed over ’complete silence’ on Kashmir in Indo-US joint statement


Sharif visited the Foreign Ministry and undertook a comprehensive review of the foreign policy priorities in the wake of the recent developments in and around Pakistan and the emerging global and regional scenario.

He "underscored the importance of securing peace and stability in the region through sustained dialogue," the prime minister’s office said in a statement.Sharif also "reiterated his priority for a peaceful neighbourhood and resolution of disputes through dialogue".

On the Kashmir issue, Sharif asked the ministry "to proactively highlight the serious human right violations being committed in Kashmir and the denial of the right of self- determination to Kashmiris".

"He expressed his disappointment over the complete silence in the US-India joint statement on the atrocities being committed by the Indian Security Forces against innocent Kashmiris," the statement said.

Sharif also underscored the high importance that Pakistan attached to its continued partnership with the US. He asked the ministry to prepare initiatives on Afghanistan and building economic and trade linkages to promote Pakistan’s development.

He recalled his meeting with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit and their agreement to evolve a bilateral and quadrilateral mechanism for controlling cross- border terrorism.

Sharif also appreciated Pakistan’s ’all-weather’ ally China’s role for improving Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. He emphasised the importance of highlighting the unmatched contributions and sacrifices made by Pakistan in fighting terrorism and of projecting Pakistan’s soft image.

Pakistan should progressively end its reliance on foreign assistance and funding by developing and generating its own resources, Sharif said. He said that the trade, investment and scientific collaboration should be the strategic pillars of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Taking a note of the virtual suspension of medical visas by India, especially for those needing urgent transplants, Sharif directed that urgent steps be taken to provide such medical facilities across Pakistan at reasonable prices.

In this regard, he also directed that a volunteer roster of medical professionals from amongst overseas Pakistani doctors be developed to complement the existing human resource in Pakistan.

Earlier, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, in his welcome remarks recounted the important achievements made in the Foreign Policy realm under the Prime Minister’s stewardship.

Sharif expressed satisfaction over the status of strategic partnership with China and the launch of USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, reviving the strategic dialogue with the US, strong relations with Russia, major improvement in relations with Central Asia culminating in Pakistan’s membership of SCO.

Sharif said that these achievements were facilitated by "significant gains" made in fighting terrorism and in achieving economic turnaround.

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua in her presentation talked about the challenges Pakistan was facing in key areas including Afghanistan, India and the US. She also briefed Sharif on the recent developments in the Middle East.

The meeting was held days after the US designated Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, as a "terrorist" on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington earlier this week.

During Modi’s visit to the US, India and the US vowed to strengthen cooperation against terror outfits like Jaish-e- Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba and D-Company, while asking Pakistan to ensure that its soil is not used for terror strikes against other nations.

In a joint statement released after talks between Modi and President Donald Trump, the two nations called on Islamabad to "expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups."

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and senior officials of the foreign office among others.

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