Press Trust of india

India’s desire to be regional hegemon casting dark shadow in region: Pak

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Islamabad, Feb 23: Pakistan today said that India’s desire to become a “regional hegemon” is casting a “dark shadow” in the region.

Warning that Pakistani forces are ready to defend its borders against any threat, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal in his weekly briefing said that “India’s arms buildup has pushed the region into a vicious arms race”.

“Its (India’s) hegemonic designs are a cause of serious concern, not only for Pakistan, but also for the entire region. India’s desire to try to become a regional hegemon is casting a dark shadow on South Asia,” he said.

He criticised India for “justifying the ceasefire violations on flimsy pretexts” and said that ceasefire violations were a threat to regional peace and can lead to a strategic miscalculation.

He urged India to allow the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play its role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.

India maintains that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control.

Asked about Hindu pilgrims not being able to visit Katas Raj temple in Pakistan’s Chakwal district, he said visas are issued by Pakistan High Commission on the basis of the Note Verbale (NV) issued by the Ministry of External Affairs to pilgrims.

“In order to facilitate them, our High Commission allowed the pilgrims to submit their passports without the NoC. Unfortunately, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs did not issue any NV to the pilgrims, forcing them to withdraw their passports,” he claimed.

He said that 503 Pakistanis have applied for Indian visas to attend the Urs of Khawaja Moinuddin Chesti (RA) next month and hoped that they will be allowed to participate in the ceremony.

To several questions about the outcome of the meeting of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regarding placing Pakistan on in its “grey list” of nations not doing enough to counter terror financing, he said so far the outcome is “awaited”.

On straining Pakistan-US ties, the spokesperson said the Trump administration took several unilateral actions in recent months that had an impact on bilateral relations.

“We have categorically conveyed to the US that this relationship can move forward only in an environment of mutual trust and respect,” he said.

Asked about a report by British newspaper ‘Financial Times’ that China is secretly holding talks with Baloch militants to protect its USD 60 billion CPEC, he said China has categorically rejected the report as baseless “so nothing more needs to be said on that.”

He also said that Pakistan and Russia agreed during recent visit of foreign minister Khawaja Asif to form a Joint Technical and Military Committee to support the bilateral efforts of cooperation in counter-terrorism and defence.

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