- Zakaria says Pakistan desires strategic balance, India wants hegemonic role in South Asia region
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will play the role of catalyst in regional connectivity, prosperity and development in the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) region, said Nafees Zakaria, the spokesperson of the Foreign Office, on Thursday.
During the weekly briefing here, he said that the 13th ECO summit remained successful with significant level of representation of the member countries. He said that the desired outcome of the summit was to enhance connectivity and regional prosperity of the member countries through route, trade, and economic cooperation.
Replying to a question regarding Afghanistan’s representation in the ECO summit, the spokesperson said that Afghanistan was a sovereign country and could take its own decisions. However, he said that the ECO summit was an important opportunity for Afghanistan to be utilised.
Answering another question, he said that the Afghan soil was used by India against Pakistan. The cross-border terrorism affects both the sides. Thus Pakistan was forced to close its border due to frequent militant attacks from Afghan side, he said.
However, he emphasised over border management, adding, “Together, we can control terrorism in the best possible manner.” He said that the Kashmir issue was raised with the respective counterparts on the sideline meetings of the ECO summit. The Indian atrocities remained continued in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, he said.
“We have taken the matter both with the Indian government and other friendly countries,” he said. He said that India wanted to play hegemonic role in the region by importing massive arms. However, he said that Pakistan wanted strategic balance and security in the region.
The spokesperson also condemned the instances of unprovoked firing by Indian troops across the Line of Control (LoC) and decried the targeting of civilian populations. Pakistani authorities have recorded their protest by repeatedly raising the issue of ceasefire violations with Indian officials, he said.
“Through such steps, Indian wants to divert the world’s attention from its atrocities against Kashmiri civilians,” he said, adding that India has violated the ceasefire a total of 1,400 times since 2013. “India violated the ceasefire 400 times in 2016 alone,” he told a questioner.