ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday said that the new land lease rules introduced in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir allowing non-Kashmiris to purchase agricultural land for commercial and other non-agricultural purposes was another manifestation of India’s colonial-settler mindset.

Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, in her weekly press briefing, told the media that last month, the occupying authorities introduced new land lease rules, depriving the local farmers, hoteliers, and businessmen of their long-held lands on lease.

She said the local authorities had also intensified their campaign to seal or attach the properties of activists and resistance leaders.

She said under the amended Land Revenue Act non-Kashmiris can purchase agricultural land for commercial and other non-agricultural purposes.

“The Indian Army has been given sweeping powers to take possession of agricultural land and residential areas in any part of IIOJK, after declaring them as “strategic”. Reportedly over 430,000 Kanals of land are already under illegal possession of the Indian military and paramilitary forces,” she said.

She said such developments were yet another manifestation of India’s colonial-settler mindset and its designs to expand control over Kashmiri lands, which was a clear violation of international law and the obligations of the occupying power towards occupied lands.

The spokesperson also reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to keep extending unstinted moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their quest for self-determination in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

She said following the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan, the government would work with an “International Partners Support Group to Pakistan’s Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction” to develop detailed plans for specific recovery interventions and building Pakistan’s climate resilience and adaptation.

“Our immediate focus would be in preventing health crisis; mitigating the impact of this winter and the rains in the next monsoon; and restoring livelihoods… Effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms will ensure transparency in funding allocation and spending.”

She told the newsmen that during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to the UAE, the two sides agreed to deepen bilateral investment cooperation, stimulate partnerships and enable investment integration opportunities.

The spokesperson said on Thursday, a Host Country Agreement (HCA) was signed between Pakistan and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) enabling the organization to operate its country office in Pakistan.

Regarding a terrorist attack in Kabul on January 11, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari spoke on the telephone with Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and reaffirmed Pakistan’s complete solidarity with the people of Afghanistan in countering the scourge of terrorism.

The spokesperson said Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs would attend the 53rd Annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland from January 16-20 to present its perspective on issues of global economic importance.

To a question, on Pakistan–India relations and the facilitation by third parties, including the United States, the spokesperson said Pakistan would always welcome the international community to play their role in promoting peace in the region including in facilitating dialogue and resolution of the core dispute between Pakistan and India i.e. the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The spokesperson welcomed the Saudi decision to increase its investments in Pakistan; however, told the media that all trade and investment-related projects took several months of discussion and painstaking negotiations to come to fruition.


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