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Foreign Office says Pakistan has longstanding relationship with America and is looking forward to work with the new US administration. This was stated by Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria at his weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday. The Spokesman said Pakistan and US have strategic dialogue mechanism covering diverse areas including economic, security, defence, education, scientific research and cooperation in other areas.  He hoped that relations between the two countries will be strengthened further in the coming years. To a question regarding US President Donald Trump's statement about terrorism, the Spokesman said terrorism has no religion, caste, creed or colour.  It is a global phenomenon and global cooperation is required to deal with this menace. Nafees Zakaria while answering a question said Kashmir is a core issue between Pakistan and India which is a matter of concern to the world community.  He said we have always welcomed anyone who wants to play role for mediation to resolve the dispute of Kashmir and other issues between Pakistan and India. Answering a question, he emphasised that politically negotiated settlement is more viable solution for Afghanistan.  He said no result has come out of fifteen years military action in Afghanistan.  He said blame game is not in the interest of any one. He said all parties should engage each other for talks. He said Pakistan has played its role for peace and stability in Afghanistan and will continue to do so. He said pursuing peace should be through Afghan led and Afghan owned initiatives. To a question, the Spokesman said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has instructed that Afghan refugees would not be repatriated forcefully, and their return will be voluntary in dignified manner.  He said the Government has evolved a plan for their smooth repatriation.  He said date for voluntary return of Afghan refugees has been extended to 31st December of this year. Replying a question, Nafees Zakaria said Indian RAW agent Kulbushan Yadav has given considerable information during investigation regarding India's involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan.  He said we in touch with the Indian government in this regard. The Spokesman said currently, the situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir is getting worse. The killing, arbitrary arrests and fake encounters of Kashmiris continue and their fundamental rights are being denied constantly. He said International Community must act to hold India accountable for their crimes against humanity.

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Dr. Pervez Iqbal Cheema (Expert on World Affairs)


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