ISLAMABAD: Greek authorities have confirmed that 15 Pakistanis have been identified among those who died in the boat tragedy through fingerprint matching and DNAs, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said.

At a briefing on Thursday, the spokesperson said Greek authorities had carried out autopsies on 78 dead bodies recovered so far, adding that there were 15 Pakistanis among the dead.

The Greek authorities had initiated a judicial inquiry into the matter, she said, adding that they had interviewed survivors to ascertain information about the circumstances of the ferry disaster.

When her attention was drawn to the interior minister’s remarks that about 293 families had contacted and 89 of them had submitted their DNA samples, she said the DNA reports that had been received were from people who feared that their relatives might be on that ill-fated boat. “This, however, does not confirm they were actually on that boat.”

FO says Sweden’s envoy summoned to convey concern over desecration of Holy Quran

Sweden’s envoy summoned

She said the charge d’affaires of Sweden had been summoned to the Foreign Office on Wednesday in connection with the desecration incident that took place in that country recently.

She said Pakistan maintains good relations with Sweden and it has conveyed its concerns to them over this incident. “I can confirm that, yes, we have raised this with the charge d’affaires of Sweden and our dialogue with Sweden will continue.”

The spokesperson said Pakistan also took this issue to the OIC, adding that the bloc’s coordinator in Geneva raised the issue at the UN Human Rights Council, where a special debate on the burning of the copies of Holy Quran, Islamophobia, and the deliberate targeting of Muslims and sentiments of Muslims around the world has been sought.

“We believe that such wilful incitement to discrimination, hatred and violence cannot be justified under the guise of freedom of expression,” she said.

Answering a question, she said there were some officials and political personalities in India who have an unhealthy obsession about Pakistan.

“And so, we should see their statements in that light. We have maintained on a number of occasions that the issue of terrorism should not be exploited for diplomatic point-scoring or staying away from interstate engagement,” she observed.

The spokesperson said Islamabad had its own concerns about India’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan, and “we have shared credible evidence in that regard”.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2023

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