Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Thursday reiterated that the country does not believe in bloc politics, and has not joined either the China or the U.S. bloc amidst a growing rivalry between the two nations.
“I would like to refute any speculation that Pakistan has joined one bloc or the other,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch in response to a question on whether Islamabad was tilting toward China. “Pakistan has a consistent policy that we do not believe in bloc politics,” she said, adding that Pakistan retained positive ties with both China and the U.S. Describing Pakistan’s ties with China as an “all-weather strategic partnership,” she said Islamabad’s ties with Washington were also important as the U.S. was one of the country’s biggest export destinations.
“Our relations with the United States are perhaps as old as Pakistan itself. Pakistan-U.S. relations are multidimensional with several areas of cooperation, with Pakistani-Americans acting as a bridge between Pakistan and the United States. We have no desire to take sides or to join one bloc or the other,” she maintained, adding that Pakistan has excellent relations with a large number of countries globally, from the Middle East to the Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa.
To another question on a letter expressing concerns over the human rights situation in Pakistan after the May 9 riots—sent to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken by over 60 members of the U.S. Congress—Baloch said the Foreign Office had seen the missive. “We do not agree with the characterization of events of May 9 and the situation in Pakistan, as reflected in that letter,” she said, adding that the civil-military National Security Committee had clarified the factual situation around the events of May 9. “Pakistan remains committed to its constitutional obligations to protect the rights and property of all its citizens. These constitutional guarantees and fundamental freedoms are being underwritten by our judiciary,” she said.
India G20 meeting
Earlier, the spokesperson commenced her briefing by criticizing India’s decision to host a meeting of the G20 Tourism Working Group in Srinagar, reiterating that Jammu and Kashmir was an internationally-recognized disputed territory. Noting that the dispute had remained on the agenda of the U.N. Security Council for over seven decades, she said India’s hosting of the summit in the region was in complete disregard of the relevant UNSC resolutions, principles of the U.N. Charter and international law.
“By holding the G20 meeting in Srinagar, India cannot hide the reality of its illegal occupation of IIOJK [Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir] and oppression of the Kashmiri people. India’s facade of normalcy in Kashmir is met by the harsh reality that IIOJK remains one of the most militarized zones on the planet,” she said, while appreciating China, Saudi Arabia, Türkiye, Egypt and Oman for refusing to attend the meeting. Stressing that these countries had stood for international law and the U.N. Charter, she regretted that India had politicized yet another international forum and was exploiting its position as the current chair to advance a self-serving agenda.
“India should instead provide unhindered access to international media and independent human rights organizations to report on the situation in IIOJK,” she said. “It must bring an end to the repression it has unleashed there, agree to the establishment of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry and hold a U.N. supervised plebiscite for the people of Kashmir to determine their own future,” she added.
The spokesperson also confirmed that Ambassador Asif Ali Khan Durrani had been appointed Pakistan’s Special Representative on Afghanistan, tasked with serving as a bridge between international partners and the Pakistani leadership. To a question, she rejected reports that President Arif Alvi was holding “secret” meetings with foreign ambassadors without informing the Foreign Office.