India committing injustices in occupied Kashmir amid global coronavirus battle: FM Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday afternoon drew the attention of the international community to the human rights violations of Indian troops in Indian-occupied Kashmir amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the world.

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“As the world is busy battling the coronavirus, India is committing injustices in occupied Kashmir,” Qureshi said in a statement to the media after Indian troops resorted to unprovoked aggression along the Line of Control, injuring six Pakistani civilians, including two teenage girls.

“India is targeting the civilian populations on this side of the LoC. India wants to turn occupied Kashmir into a minority state. India has been consistently targeting civilians on the Pakistani side of the border,” the foreign minister said.

Qureshi also lamented that the attitude of the Indian government to a proposed conference of South Asian countries on the virus was negative. “India is bent on persecuting minorities despite challenges like the coronavirus to the economy,” he said.

‘Provinces must step forward to improve coronavirus testing, quarantine measures’

FM Qureshi had earlier on Saturday said that the provinces need to step forward to improve coronavirus testing and quarantine measures in order to accelerate the repatriation of Pakistani citizens stuck abroad due to the virus pandemic.

Chairing a meeting at the Foreign Office on Saturday morning, the foreign minister said that the federal government was making all possible efforts to bring back home the citizens stranded in different parts of the world due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Our envoys in different countries are in constant touch with pilgrims and other citizens who have been unable to return to Pakistan because of the virus situation,” he said at the meeting, adding that a strategy to bring them back to Pakistan was in the process of being finalized.

“We have already brought back 1,600 Pakistanis from abroad in 9 special flights,” Qureshi noted, adding that protocols to deal with the repatriated citizens had also been finalised.

‘Parliamentary committee overseeing repatriation’

The chief of the parliamentary sub-committee on the issues of pilgrims, Shaheryar Khan Afridi, was also present in the meeting, along with Special Secretary on Foreign Affairs Muazzam Khan and several other high-ranking government officials.

“The government has constituted a special parliamentary committee to oversee the repatriation of Pakistanis stuck abroad due to the spread of the coronavirus,” Afridi told the media after the meeting.

“The committee has been tasked to oversee efforts that bring back stranded pilgrims, students, prisoners, and other citizens abroad affected by the coronavirus outbreak,” Afridi added.

Afridi, while outlining that the committee was working on a day-to-day basis, also praised the Pakistani missions in different countries who were working to provide food and other necessities to citizens stuck abroad due to the virus.

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