ISLAMABAD (Agencies): Pakistan strongly condemns yesterday’s massacre by Israel’s occupation forces of unarmed Palestinians, who were awaiting life-saving aid and food delivery in Gaza. This massacre demonstrates a blatant disregard for civility and international humanitarian law and Israel’s deliberate and inhumane policy of mass starvation.

Pakistan reiterates its call for an immediate and urgent ceasefire, lifting of the inhumane siege and unimpeded access of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. Israel must also face justice for its crimes against humanity being perpetrated with impunity against the Palestinian people.

On 28th February 2024, Pakistan successfully completed its tenure as the Chair of the Vienna Chapter of the Group of 77 and China.
Pakistan’s focus during its chairmanship was on addressing important issues of concern for developing counties, including wars, geopolitical conflicts, climate disasters, economic hardships, poverty, and hunger. It emphasized collaboration between organizations to seek consensus-driven solutions that prioritized the needs of developing countries. It also aimed to bolster cooperation among Group members while fostering South-South and triangular partnerships.

On completion of Pakistan’s tenure, Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, has reaffirmed Pakistan’s continued commitment to the Group and the values, ideals and principles it represents.

At the ongoing 55th Session of the Human Rights Council, Foreign Secretary, Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi, delivered a statement reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment to making 2024 pivotal for human rights, aligning with the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Foreign Secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s staunch support for promoting universal human rights and emphasized the protection and indivisibility of all human rights, both domestically and internationally. He also pledged to enhance cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms.

The Foreign Secretary urged the High Commissioner’s Office to closely monitor the situation in IIOJK, to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the human right situation there.

The Foreign Secretary has reiterated Pakistan’s demand for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Gaza, called for an end to Israel’s aggression and emphasized the need for full and effective implementation of the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice.

Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi also delivered a statement at the high-level segment of the Conference on Disarmament (CD). He underlined Pakistan’s position on the disturbing normalization of the threat of force and aggression, the potential escalation of unresolved disputes into full-fledged conflicts, and the expansion of arsenal and deployment of destabilizing weapon systems in pursuit of strategic dominance.

The Foreign Secretary reiterated Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to fostering a peaceful neighbourhood grounded in principles of mutual respect, sovereign equality, and undiminished security for all states. He also expressed the importance of an international instrument on Negative Security Assurances, addressing military implications and artificial intelligence, and pursuing balanced reductions in armed forces and conventional armaments.

Pakistan denounces the decision by the Indian authorities to ban the Muslim Conference Jammu and Kashmir (Bhat faction), and Muslim Conference Jammu and Kashmir (Sumji faction), while extending the current ban on the Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammu Kashmir for five more years.
With this decision, a total of eight Kashmiri political parties have been outlawed in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). Their leadership and cadres are also facing persecution.

These oppressive measures reflect a vicious intent by India to stifle dissent and freedom of expression in IIOJK in complete disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law.

India should immediately lift the curbs on the banned Kashmiri parties; release all political prisoners and dissenters; and forthwith implement the UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan will continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters for the just and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions.

Now some upcoming diplomatic engagements.

Pakistan is hosting the 9th Pakistan-EU Political Dialogue on 06 March 2024. Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi will lead the Pakistan delegation, while Deputy Secretary General European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora will lead the EU side. The two sides will discuss implementation of the Pakistan-EU Strategic Engagement Plan, counter-terrorism, as well as important regional and global developments. The last Pakistan-EU Political Dialogue took place on 22 November 2022 in Brussels.

The 5th session of Bilateral Political Consultations between Pakistan and Canada is scheduled to take place in Ottawa on 05 March 2024. Pakistani side will be led by Ambassador Mariam Aftab, Additional Foreign Secretary (Americas), whereas the Canadian side will be led by Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Indo-Pacific, Weldon Epp. The two sides will discuss all aspects of bilateral relations and regional and global developments.

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