ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the completion of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, emphasizing its significance in strengthening the friendship between the two nations. Speaking at the weekly news briefing on Thursday, Baloch acknowledged that there were ongoing discussions between Pakistan and Iran to address certain issues hindering the project’s completion.
“We will continue to engage in discussions with Iran to resolve all matters pertaining to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project,” Baloch stated.
In response to the recently released International Religious Freedom Report by the US Department of State, Baloch strongly refuted the baseless assertions made about Pakistan. She dismissed the report as an ill-informed exercise that interferes with the internal affairs of sovereign states, labeling it as both pointless and counterproductive.
Pakistan firmly believes that every state holds the primary responsibility to promote and safeguard the religious rights and freedoms of its citizens, Baloch emphasized.
Addressing the escalating situation in Palestine, Baloch expressed Pakistan’s deep concern over the ongoing violence and closely monitored developments in Gaza and other occupied Palestinian territories. She condemned the loss of over 33 Palestinian lives, including women and children, in recent days and extended prayers for the recovery of the injured.
Responding to a question, Baloch underscored Pakistan’s unwavering support for the Kashmir cause and the rights of the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). Pakistan remains committed to the principles outlined in the United Nations Security Council resolutions, which emphasize the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination through a free and fair UN-supervised plebiscite.
“Our principled stance on the Kashmir dispute is based on the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, as determined under a UN-supervised plebiscite. This position remains unchanged,” Baloch emphasized.
Regarding the challenging situation currently faced by Pakistan, Baloch expressed confidence in the nation’s resilience and ability to overcome adversity. Pakistan has successfully navigated numerous challenges in the past and will emerge from the current situation with national consensus, guided by the will of the people and the nation’s laws and constitution, she affirmed.
On the issue of Afghan refugees, Baloch highlighted Pakistan’s continued efforts to ensure the safe and dignified return of Afghan refugees to their homeland. Pakistan maintains regular communication with its Afghan counterparts to facilitate their repatriation and hopes for an improved situation in Afghanistan, enabling their swift return.
In response to a query, Baloch assured that the Pakistani government and its missions abroad, including those in the Middle East, are fully committed to assisting distressed Pakistani nationals, including those involved in accidents or facing other challenges while abroad. Pakistani embassies collaborate with relevant departments of host governments to safeguard the interests of overseas Pakistanis. Baloch emphasized the importance of respecting the laws and regulations of host countries while encouraging Pakistani nationals to do the same. For specific cases, she advised sending a separate inquiry to the Foreign Office to enable consultation with the respective missions.
The Foreign Office remains steadfast in its commitment to promoting bilateral projects, safeguarding religious freedoms, supporting oppressed nations, and protecting the rights of Pakistani nationals at home and abroad.