Pakistan rejects Indian propaganda on Neelum-Jhelum project

Published September 16, 2022
Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar briefs the media. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan/File
Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar briefs the media. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday rejected as baseless an Indian propaganda that Chinese engineers and staff have abandoned repair of the 969-megawatt Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project.

Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar told a weekly press briefing that India was once again churning out false and baseless reports about the hydropower project. He said a fault was detected in the project and is currently undergoing remedial works for which the entity concerned, Gezhouba Group of China, has been contacted.

He said the group has alrea­­dy attained full mobilisation at the site and at present the work was proceeding smoothly without any interruption and completion of the project was expected in 2023.

The FO spokesperson said there was no truth in any report of work stoppage or so-called abandonment. He said these reports were aimed at misleading the public as well as part of malicious propaganda meant to fuel controversy around Pakistan-China relations. He said such efforts will not succeed, as all-weather strategic cooperative partners were fully committed to strengthening bilateral cooperation for the benefit of both countries and people.

Answering a question about the presence of a UN-designated individual in Afghanistan, Mr Iftikhar said the person was a proclaimed offender and wanted in numerous terrorism-related cases in Pakistan. He said Pakistani authorities have formally raised this issue with the relevant Afghan interlocutors on multiple occasions. He said Pakistan as well as the international community have sufficient reasons to believe that there were still pockets of ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan that have been used by terrorist groups as safe havens.

The spokesperson said multiple deadly cross-border terrorist attacks from Afghanistan only increase these legitimate concerns. He urged the Afghan interim authorities to take concert and verifiable actions to deliver on the assurances they have given to the international community that they will not allow anyone to use Afghan soil against any country.

About the continuing grave human rights and humanitarian situation in India-held Kashmir, he said unabated wanton state-terrorism by Indian occupation forces resulted in martyrdom of three more young Kashmiris in fake encounters in the occupied valley. This brings total extra-judicial killings to 670 since Aug 5, 2019 and to 150 since the beginning of this year.

“Today the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) is the world’s most heavily militarised zone, which has in fact been turned into the world’s largest prison — where people are not allowed to speak freely; APHC leadership, youth, journalists, civil society and human rights defenders are jailed and silenced,” he added.

He urged the international community to call upon India to end its gross and systematic violations of human rights in IIOJK, revoke its illegal and unilateral actions since Aug 5, 2019, and free all political prisoners, including the true Kashmiri leaders.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2022

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