Pakistan on Friday said it supported Iran’s “principled stance” on U.S.'s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal, hoping the remaining parties to the agreement would uphold their commitments.
“Pakistan stands with Iran in this hour of need,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in capital Islamabad.
Zarif, who is first foreign dignitary to visit Pakistan after installation of the new government, held meetings with Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his two-day visit.
His visit came ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s visit to Islamabad next week.
Indian court defers Jammu and Kashmir resident case
The Indian Supreme Court on Friday adjourned the hearing of the case that challenges Kashmir’s permanent resident law till the second week of January, bringing temporary relief to the Kashmir’s citizens.The representatives of the Indian central government and the Jammu and Kashmir government both asked the court for the case to be pushed back, saying it could trigger unrest and affect efforts to organize long-delayed local body elections in the region scheduled for the end of this year.While the Supreme Court in Delhi heard the case on Article 35A on Friday, the Jammu and Kashmir region observed a complete shutdown for the second consecutive day.Several argue that the Indian government wants to change the demography of the Muslim-majority region by tempering with the land ownership laws. The shutdown was called by the region's pro-Independence leadership.Pakistan to raise anti-Islam cartoon issue in UNArticle 35A, which is under contention in the Indian Court, was incorporated in the Indian Constitution by a 1954 presidential order.It confers special status to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir, and bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in the state, thereby maintaining its Muslim-majority character.Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.No breakthrough in Pakistan-India water talksAlso, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
Discussions were held between the two sides on regional and global issues, including the situation in Afghanistan, a statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry read.
Expressing satisfaction over cooperation with regard to the Pakistan-Iran border, it was agreed to continue close consultations through various forums in this regard, the statement added.
During his meeting with premier Khan, Zarif, conveyed to him the greetings and best wishes of the people and leadership of Iran on assuming office, said a statement from the Prime Minister House.
Pakistan to raise anti-Islam cartoon issue in UN
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that he would move the Organization of Islamic Council (OIC) to raise the matter of a Dutch anti-Islam cartoon contest in the United Nations.In a video message, the newly elected premier said: "This is not the issue of a single Muslim or country. This is the issue of every Muslim in the world."His message came as members of a religious party, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), began a march to capital Islamabad vowing to continue a sit-in until the expulsion of the Dutch ambassador.Khan said the issue could not be addressed by expelling an ambassador but through a joint stand against the Dutch Freedom party leader Geert Wilders, mastermind of the contest, in the UN through the OIC.A government delegation led by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is trying to persuade the protesters to end their march.Pakistani party protests Dutch cartoon contestHe added that a minority in the West was involved in Islamophobic and anti-Islam acts."This is our fault that we have failed to make them understand how important this issue is. How much it hurts us. Noble Prophet Mohammad lives in our hearts."Wilders, known for his anti-Islam stance, announced in June a contest to draw cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.The decision raised criticism across Muslim states, including Pakistan, as physical depictions of God or Prophet Mohammad are forbidden in Islam.Dutch politician calls off anti-Islam cartoon contest
He also delivered a message of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, inviting the prime minister for the upcoming Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit in Iran, in October 2018.
Welcoming the Iranian foreign minister, Khan thanked the Iranian Supreme Leader’s support for Kashmiris’ struggle for their right to self-determination as well as for the manner in which Pakistan Independence Day was celebrated in Iran.
Referring to cancellation of blasphemous Dutch caricatures competition, following Pakistan’s strong condemnation and protest recently, Khan underlined the need for the Muslim countries to confront Islamophobia with one voice.
Pakistani party protests Dutch cartoon contest
A party in Pakistan called for the expulsion of the Dutch ambassador on Wednesday as it launched a protest against a far-right Dutch politician's plan for a cartoon competition featuring caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.Hundreds of activists gathered in the eastern city of Lahore for the demonstration organised by Tehreek-e-Labbaik, a party that amassed the fifth largest number of votes in a general election last month having campaigned as a defender of the laws and punishments for crimes of blasphemy.The numbers were expected to swell if leaders of the party carry out a threat to take their protest to the capital Islamabad, to pressure Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan to cut diplomatic ties with the Netherlands."The Dutch ambassador should be immediately deported," Labbaik spokesman Ejaz Ashrafi told Reuters. "We will only stop when the government meets this demand."Pakistan has already complained to the Dutch government about far-right parliamentarian Geert Wilders' plans for a cartoon contest that will upset and provoke Muslims.Wilders intends to display the cartoons on the walls of his political party's room in parliament. He says he’s had "hundreds" of entries."The Foreign Office called the charge d'affaires of the Netherlands and issued him a Demarche' to record a protest," the Pakistani prime minister's office said in a statement on Wednesday.The Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last week that the cartoon competition "was not something I would do" and his government was not associated with it.Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he planned to take up the issue with the United Nations and several world leaders. "They don't understand how much they hurt us when they do such acts," Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, said on Tuesday, a day after the upper house of parliament condemned the proposed cartoon competition.Officials from the Punjab provincial government met with Labbaik leaders in Lahore in a vain attempt to persuade them to call off their protest."We told them to stop the protests because the Pakistan government is taking up the issue effectively," an official involved on the talks told Reuters, adding that Labbaik representatives insisted the protest would only end once the Dutch envoy was expelled.Last year, in a stand-off with the previous government, Labbaik shut down a main highway leading into Islamabad for nearly three weeks over a small change in wording to an electoral law changing a religious oath to a simple declaration. Labbaik said the change amounted to blasphemy.The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was forced to accept the resignation of law minister Zahid Hamid, who Labbaik held responsible for the change, after seven people were killed and nearly 200 wounded in a failed attempt by police to disperse protesters.
Zarif also called on army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the army headquarters in garrison city Rawalpindi.
Regional security situation and other matters of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting, Pakistan army’s media wing said in a statement.
The visiting dignitary acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan’s contributions for prevention of conflict in the region, the statement concluded.
New PM Khan to skip UN General Assembly to focus on Pakistan economy
Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan will skip next month's United Nations General Assembly session to focus his attention on the country's economy, said his foreign minister.Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will head the Pakistani delegation at 73rd U.N. General Assembly session set to open on September 18."No, the prime minister is not going. I will lead Pakistani delegation," Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters on Tuesday evening.There was a debate in Pakistan whether the new prime minister would attend the U.N. session or stay home as part of his austerity drive and focus on economic issues.Turkish foreign minister talks to Pakistani counterpart"The prime minister of Pakistan thinks that the present situation in country needs attention," Qureshi told the media.He said Khan wants to focus on his new government, sworn in earlier this month, and a looming currency crisis which threatens to derail the fast-growing economy.Pakistan’s economy expanded at 5.8 percent in the last fiscal year, its quickest pace in 13 years, but the rupee currency has been devalued four times since December. Interest rates have been raised three times.