Pak Govt concerned, takes ‘serious notice’ of Altaf Hussain’s appeal to India

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Nation special report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Government has taken serious notice of an appeal made by MQM Chief Altaf Hussain to Indian Prime Minister Narindera Modi for political asylum and financial assistance.

Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said here at a weekly press briefing on Thursday responded a query about Altaf Hussain that whether Pakistan intended to raise matter with the British authorities, the spokesman said, “It is a issue of serious concern and a comprehensive response will be issued soon.”

Altaf Hussain, in his speech on social media from London, had said that if Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would provide asylum to him and his colleagues, he would be ready to come to India.

Siachen Glacier issue

Dr. Faisal categorically said that Siachen Glacier was a disputed territory, which India could not open for tourism. “India has made attempts to occupy the territory of Siachen. The disputed land cannot be opened for tourists.”

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had recently announced that tourists could access Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield between Pakistan and India, as both claim sovereignty over the entire territory. The FO spokesman, however, said that India had not formally conveyed its decision on Siachen to Pakistan.

Col Habib case

As regards Pakistan Army’s retired officer Colonel Habib Zahir reportedly killed in a torture cell after he went missing in Nepal two and a half years ago, he said, “I have seen the death certificate which looks fake. It is obviously a campaign of sensationalization being undertaken by hostile agencies against Pakistan and its nationals.” He said the family of Colonel Habib Zahir and Pakistan remained extremely concerned about his whereabouts.

Hindu religious sites

When asked whether Pakistan was considering opening Hindu religious sites in Azad Kashmir for people across the eastern border, he said Pakistan was ever ready to increase people-to-people contacts, however, India’s reluctance to negotiate mutual matters was the main hurdle.

“India after its August 5 decision has made it difficult and almost impossible to work out bilateral issues and Pakistan despite its good intentions cannot unilaterally materialize any such project,” he said.

Gilgit-Baltistan

Rejecting the impression that Pakistan had ever worked on making Gilgit-Baltistan its province, Dr Faisal said it always insisted on giving fundamental rights to the people of the area.“The human development in Gilgit-Baltistan cannot be made hostage for the reason that India is not willing to resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

He said Pakistan considered the plebiscite as per resolutions of the United Nations Security Council as the only solution to resolve the matter. “The people of Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and Occupied Kashmir are very close to our hearts and we will do whatever we can for their empowerment,” he said.

J&K situation

The FO spokesman said the humanitarian crisis in Jammu and Kashmir was worsening due to continuous denial of food, medical care and permission to offer Friday prayers in mosques for over three months.

He urged the international community to take notice of the grave situation in the held Valley, which had put the civilians, including women and children, under the history’s ‘biggest human jail’.

The spokesman condemned the recent derogatory remarks of former Indian army general about the Muslim Kashmiri women and said it was a moment for Indian media and intellectuals to introspect on which path of intolerance and bigotry their country had embarked upon.

Sikh pilgrims

On reports of low number of pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, he said Pakistan had permitted 5,000 pilgrims per day from India for a day-long stay, however, there were reports of hurdles being created by New Delhi in that regard.

The FO spokesman condemned the incident of desecration of Holy Quran in Norway and said Pakistan’s policy of respect of religions was ‘to live and let live’.

He confirmed that Queen Maxima of Netherlands would visit Pakistan from November 25 to 27 in her capacity as the UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate on Inclusive Finance and Development.

Altaf Hussain

It is pertinent to mention here that Altaf Hussain has reportedly requested Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for help by giving asylum and financial help to him and his companions, a media report said on Sunday.

In his first ever public speech after the UK police relaxed his bail conditions, the MQM leader said he would like to travel to India because his grandparents are buried there. “If India’s Prime Minister Modi allows me to come to India and provides me asylum with my colleagues, I am ready to come to India along with my colleagues because my grandfather is buried there. My grandmother is buried there and thousands of my relatives are buried there in India. I want to go to India to their graves.”
Addressing Modi, Hussain alleged that his assets, house and offices were taken over in Karachi after August 22, 2017. He asked the Indian Prime Minister to help him with money if he could not provide him asylum. Hussain’s MQM is influential in urban areas of Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh, including its restive port city of Karachi.

He made the request during a speech aired on social media from his London abode earlier this month. “If India and Prime Minister Modi allow me to come to India and provide me asylum with my colleagues, I am ready to come to India along with my colleagues because my grandfather is buried there … my grandmother is buried there … my thousands of relatives are buried in India. I want to go to their graves and want to pray,” he said in the video message broadcast on social media on Nov 9.

Mr Hussain, a British citizen who has been living in the United Kingdom for the past 27 years, is currently on bail in a case pertaining to incitement of violence. He was arrested twice in the UK, first in connection with a money laundering investigation and then in the present case.