Pakistan 'deeply concerned' over lack of medical supplies in occupied Kashmir: FO

Published April 9, 2020
Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan
Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan

Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui on Thursday said Pakistan was "deeply concerned" at the lack of medical supplies and assistance in occupied Kashmir where 170 cases of Covid-19 and five fatalities from the disease have been reported.

Speaking at the weekly FO press briefing, she said: "Voices from within India and around the world continue to condemn the inhuman oppression of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"In a joint statement recently, six international human rights organisations underscored that measures to combat Covid-19 must respect human rights of every individual and urgently release all political prisoners, human rights defenders and all those arrested in occupied Kashmir after August 5, 2019.

"These organisations, in their joint statement also reminded India of its obligation under international law to ensure the physical and mental health and well-being of inmates," she said.

Farooqui also condemned the new domicile law introduced in the region under which a person who has resided in occupied Kashmir for 15 years will be able to call the territory his or her place of domicile.

"The [law] is another illegal step by India to settle non-Kashmiris in the occupied valley by changing domicile laws.

"At this moment of global health crisis, [changing the law] is a particularly reprehensible act as it seeks to take advantage of the international community’s focus on the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and further advance the Bharatiya Janata Party's sinister Hindutva agenda," she said.

Repatriation

Speaking about bringing back Pakistanis from virus-hit countries, she said: "A comprehensive and phased plan for repatriation of our nationals in different countries has been made." Under the plan, the following have returned through special flights operated by PIA in the past few days:

  • 101 nationals from UAE
  • 40 from Doha
  • 170 from Bangkok
  • 194 from Istanbul
  • 128 from Tashkent
  • 3 from Tajikistan
  • 136 from Baghdad

"Plans for repatriation of our nationals from other destinations are also under active consideration. As this is a dynamic and evolving situation, these plans are being reviewed regularly.

"Our two member solidarity team from Beijing Embassy, comprising officers Junaid and Suleman who had volunteered to go to Wuhan and assist our students under the lockdown there, have now returned to Beijing following the lifting of travel restrictions in Wuhan after 76 days," added the spokesperson.

"We are immensely proud of them and recognise their commitment and dedication to serve the nation."

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