Apr 112013

– File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan welcomes foreign observers from different countries to monitor holding of general elections in a free, fair and transparent manner.

Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry in his weekly briefing here Thursday said, “Pakistan welcomes foreign election observers because our leadership is committed to hold free, fair and transparent elections in the country.”

This exercise will help improve the credibility of Pakistan among the international community, he added.

Regarding the decision of European Union election observers of not travelling to FATA and Balochistan, the spokesman said after getting accreditation from the Election Commission of Pakistan, all the observers were issued a travel advisory by the Interior Ministry.

So far requests have been received from National Democratic Institute, Commonwealth, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Malaysia, Australia, Mauritius and Maldives for sending their election observers, which are under process, he added.

About threatening statements by North Korea, the spokesman said that Pakistan shared the concern of international community on the recent tension and deteriorating situation in the Korean Peninsula.

He said that Pakistan always supported a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. “We are monitoring the evolving situation and taking necessary measures to ensure the safety of our diplomats and staff there.”

Chaudhry said dialogue on strategic issues between Pakistan and Russia was scheduled for April 25 as part of the ongoing consultative rounds of meetings.

He said that issues relating to disarmament, non-proliferation, strategic stability in South Asia and cooperation in science and technology would be discussed during the meeting.

Replying to a question, the spokesman described Pakistan-China friendship as a source of stability in the region, saying that no one should worry about the growing relationship between the two countries.

About India’s concern on handing over of Gwadar Port to Chinese authorities, he said that Pakistan-China relations were a source of strength and stability in the region. The two countries were time tested friends.

On Pakistan-India ties, the spokesman said, “We have shown degree of responsibility and restraint on incidents of violations of Line of Control and hostile statements by India.”

Replying to a question about the travel advisory issued by the US State Department for its citizens, he said that the security situation had improved to a great deal as a number of visitors and investors were travelling to Pakistan.

Answering a question, the spokesman said Pakistan was not a part of any scoring game on its nuclear programme, which was only for deterrence.

To a query regarding new labour and residency laws in Saudi Arabia, he said the matter had been taken up with the Saudi authorities and Pakistan’s Counsel General visited the deportation camps and jails there.

In this regard Pakistan has also written a letter to the Saudi King saying that Pakistanis are contributing to the Saudi economy, he added.

He said that Saudi Arabia had given a three-month grace period to the Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia to regularise their status.

Pakistan’s embassy is in touch with Saudi authorities to protect the interests of its nationals, he added.

Replying to a question, the spokesman said Pakistan was developing relations with Egypt in a positive way, which could not be affected by any individual’s statement.

Regarding the current status of Pakistan-US relations, he said “we have regular contacts with the US at all levels and the relationship is being advanced on the basis of mutual respect, dignity and mutuality of benefits.”

Regarding Afghanistan, he said that there were challenges, but Pakistan and Afghan leaderships were trying to resolve the issues. A peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan, he added.

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