FO urges World Bank to resolve Pakistan-India water issues


–Says no meeting scheduled between Qureshi and Sushma in SCO moot

–Refuses to comment on arrests of Chinese nationals over human trafficking charges

–Says Aasia Bibi has left the country out of her own free will

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Thursday said that India is constantly violating the Indus Water Treaty and urged the World Bank to play an arbitrary role to resolve the water issues between the two countries.

Reacting strongly to the recent statements of Indian leadership on the Indus Water Treaty, he said that both Pakistan and India are signatory to the treaty but regretted that New Delhi is violating it.
“We are involved in the dispute resolution mechanism in the World Bank but lamented the matter has not been sorted out,” he said while urging the World Bank to fulfil its responsibility regarding empanelment of Court of Arbitration for resolution of water-related disputes between Pakistan and India.

“Pakistan desires that the Indus Water Treaty remains intact and its dispute resolution mechanism moves forward,” the spokesperson said and reiterated that Pakistan desires better relations with India.

Responding to a question, the FO spokesperson said that Pakistan has consistently been raising Kashmir dispute at all the international forums to highlight the plight of oppressed Kashmiri people.

On chances of meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation moot on May 21-22 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, he said that informal handshake could be a possibility, however, there is no meeting scheduled so far.

Responding to a question about the shortage of Rooh Afza in India, he said that Pakistan is ready to send Rooh Afza to help them out.


On the Afghan peace process, he said that Pakistan supported dialogue and political solution of Afghanistan with a focus on “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned approach”. He said that Pakistan urged all the stakeholders to converge their energies on negotiations to avoid conflict in the already war-torn country.

When asked about terror attacks from the Afghan side inside Pakistani territory, the spokesperson said that Pakistan has conveyed its strong reservations regarding the continued presence of such nefarious elements in Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan has also urged the Afghan government to take action against these elements.

Owing to the chaotic situation in Libya, he said Pakistan’s mission was in touch with the representatives of Pakistani community and had advised them to register with the embassy for prompt coordination in case of an emergency situation.

On recent detention of some Chinese citizens by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on charges of human trafficking, the spokesman declined to comment, saying the matter pertained to Ministry of Interior.


The spokesperson also confirmed that Aasia Bibi had left Pakistan for Canada. “She is a free citizen who left the country out of her own free will,” he said.

On being asked whether the bomb blast on Lahore’s Data Darbar was in any connection to Aasia Bibi’s departure, the FO spokesperson replied that there was no connection between the two.

On Wednesday, her counsel Saiful Malook said that she had flown to Canada to join her daughters there. “She has gone to Canada and she will live there now as she has been granted asylum by the country,” he said.

In a statement issued late Wednesday night, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Aasia Bibi has been reunited with her family.

“The United States welcomes the news that Aasia Bibi has safely reunited with her family,” he said in a statement. “Aasia is now free, and we wish her and her family all the best following their reunification,” he added.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to confirm whether she arrived in Canada. “There are sensitive privacy issues and security issues on this and so I cannot comment,” Trudeau told reporters outside the Canadian Parliament.

While British Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to confirm that Canada was her destination while speaking on the floor of the House of Commons. “Canada made this offer and we thought it was right and appropriate that we supported the offer that Canada had made,” May said.

Aasia Bibi spent years behind bars after a high court convicted her in a blasphemy case. However, her conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court (SC) on October 31, 2018, in a landmark decision. She had remained in prison as the apex court’s decision triggered protests in the country from religious groups led by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). Protesters were called off when the government agreed to impose a travel ban on Aasia Bibi and not to challenge a review appeal against the verdict.

In January 2019, the apex court rejected the petition challenging the decision to acquit Aasia Bibi. Following the rejection of the petition, she was moved to a secret location.