ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs Rana Muhammad Afzal on Thursday informed the Senate that the government was cognizant of foreign media campaigns regarding ‘free Karachi’, and Pakistani missions were vigilant and actively working to counter such moves in the United States and some European countries.
Responding to a calling attention notice raised by Murtaza Wahab and others in that regard, the minister said that the government was informed of the issue since first it surfaced in Geneva last year. Later on, the malicious campaign was also initiated in US cities, he added.
The minister said that it had transpired that the campaign in the US was being funded by anti-Pakistan lobbies.
“Our missions in the US have also mobilised the Pakistani-American community against the systematic move against their homeland. The response of the Pakistani diaspora is very encouraging,” he added.
He said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructed its missions in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the US to approach the host governments as well as relevant local authorities with a view to sensitise them about Pakistan’s concerns on campaigns like ‘free Balochistan’ and ‘free Karachi’.
The minister said that Pakistan’s embassy in Washington had raised the matter with the US State Department and conveyed the country’s concerns, highlighting the need for US authorities to curb activities that impinged upon the sovereignty of any country.
He said that the US State Department was told that such campaigns were against the spirit of international law and norms of inter-state relations.
“We were assured that the State Department had taken cognizance of our concerns and would look into the matter within the parameters of the US laws on freedom of expression,” he said.
Rana Afzal said that in addition to handing over a demarche to the State Department in Washington, the matter was also taken up with the local authorities in New York.
He said that the Foreign Secretary, during her meeting with the visiting US Acting Assistant Secretary of State on January 15, also registered Pakistan’s strong protest regarding the malicious campaigns.
“The US Acting Assistant Secretary of State gave the reassurance that the US respects Pakistan’s territorial integrity and that this support is absolute,” he added.