Pakistan’s response will be ‘mature’ unlike India’s ‘childish’ reply: FO


–Spokesman says dates for possible meeting between PM Imran and US President Trump have not been decided yet 


ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal on Thursday termed India’s response to Pakistan’s invitation for negotiations on the opening of the Kartarpur crossing as “childish”and said that Islamabad’s reply will be “mature”.

During the weekly Foreign Office (FO) briefing, the spokesperson said, “Any aggression from New Delhi will be responded in kind.”

“Peace [initiatives] will be responded to with peace and a bullet will be repaid with a bullet,” Dr Faisal said.

While referring to the relations with neighbouring country India and the Kartarpur border, Dr Faisal said, “Pakistan has sent a draft plan to India and has asked them to send a delegation in order to finalise plans.”

“It was disappointing that India, in turn, sent back two dates and said that Pakistan can send a delegation instead. Pakistan will send a stern reply soon,” Faisal said.

Pakistan is to construct the nearly four-kilometre-long corridor from the border to the Gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib, whereas India is to construct and develop the corridor from Dera Baba Nanak, in East Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, to the international border.

Moreover, the FO spokesperson also confirmed that US Senator Lindsey Graham – during his recent visit to Pakistan said that US President Donald Trump has expressed his desire to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“Dates for the possible meeting have not been decided yet and though Washington and Islamabad have started discussing a possible meet between the leaders, preparations for such a visit are pending.”

He further said that “Pakistan will not change its foreign policy towards Israel”.

The FO spokesperson also reiterated that “there is no Daesh presence in Punjab” but, added that “Punjab chief minister and the provincial government are better aware of this”.

 Dr Faisal also stated that Pakistan and Qatar are supporting talks between the United States and the Taliban, as the two sides pursue a potential deal to bring an end to Afghanistan’s 17-year conflict.

The talks come after US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad spent the weekend in Pakistan where he met with PM Imran as part of a regional tour that saw the envoy shuttling between India, China and Afghanistan.

Referring to the issue of occupied Kashmir, the FO spokesperson said that “India continues to violate the cease-fire agreement and occupying forces are still using pellet guns despite United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres talking about the issue”.

Not only that, Faisal said that the Human Rights Council’s report that highlights these atrocities was ignored by India, but reassured the people that the matter has been taken up with the UNGA president.

Responding to a question regarding the Supreme Court setting a date to review petition filed against the top court’s verdict acquitting Asia Bibi of blasphemy charges and setting her free, Dr Faisal said, “If the SC decides not to allow the appeal she should be free to go.”