Let me begin by giving a brief round of activities on the foreign policy front:

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Justice (Retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk have extended heartfelt felicitations to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on his victory in the elections held in Turkey on 24 June 2018.The President underscored that the large turn-out and the peaceful conduct of the parliamentary and presidential elections is a testimony to the strength and vibrancy of Turkey’s democratic values and institutions. The Prime Minister underlined that this electoral victory was a vote of strong confidence in the leadership and vision of President Erdogan, and the remarkable progress made by Turkey under the AK Party. The Prime Minister also reiterated Government of Pakistan’s strong commitment to continue working with the brotherly Government of Turkey to expand the existing strategic bilateral relations in all spheres.

Pakistan has welcomed the recommendation made by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights to establish a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate human rights violations by India. The report stressed that excessive use of force, indiscriminate killing of civilians, blinding by pellet guns, cases of mass graves and sexual violence by India in Jammu and Kashmir constitute crimes against humanity, which must be investigated. The Human Rights Commissioner condemned the recent assassination of the Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari, Editor-in-Chief of the Rising Kashmir on 14 June 2018. Pakistan had long sought the UN’s sustained focus on Jammu & Kashmir and the latest report reaffirms Pakistan’s well-known position on the grave human rights abuses committed by India in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir. The COI is consistent with Pakistan’s several calls to this effect since 2016, even as India has continued to ignore legitimate demands for a credible probe mechanism. We also endorse the UN’s call for a final political solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute through meaningful dialogue in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. The UN had a key role to play in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The UN Security Council remains seized of the matter and Jammu and Kashmir remains on its agenda. The latest UN report is a reminder of the urgency of the resolution of this dispute, both to protect human lives and to promote peace.

A condolence reference was organized by the National Press Club Islamabad on June 26 2018 in memory of late Shujaat Bukhari, prominent Kashmiri journalist hailing from Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir and Editor-in-Chief of the Rising Kashmir, who was brutally assassinated by unidentified gunmen outside his office in Srinagar on 14 June 2018. The President of AJK Sardar Masood Khan was the Chief Guest of the condolence reference. The speakers at the event unanimously reiterated that while Shujaat Bukhari’s tragic assassination bore an irreparable loss to the cause of Kashmiri struggle, his death became a symbol of fortitude, courage and perseverance for the Kashmiri youth. Shujaat Bukhari was known for carrying out his professional responsibilities with courage and conviction. The brutal manner in which his life was taken cannot be condemned enough. We take this opportunity to reiterate our strongest condemnation of this mindless act.

Indian atrocities in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir continue to bleed, blind and maim innocent Kashmiris. In just one week, the Indian occupation forces killed nine people including Dawood Ahmad Sofi, Majid Manzoor Dar, Adil Rehman Bhat,Mohammad Ashraf, Mohammad Ashraf Rathore, 19 years old Shahid Nazir Hajam, Shakoor Ahmad Dar and 24-year-old Yawar Ahmad Mir, in Islamabad and Kulgam areas. Detaining and not allowing APHC Chairman, Syed Ali Gilani to offer Friday prayers, is highly deplorable and is against the internationally recognized right to worship.

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