ISLAMABAD, Mar 11 : Pakistan on Thursday made it clear that it had not entered into any bilateral procurement agreement with India on the purchase of COVID-19 vaccine and the supply of doses was being carried out through GAVI, the international vaccine alliance.
“The procurement and supply mechanism of vaccine doses is undertaken by Gavi ad not the respective countries,” the Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said at a weekly press briefing held here.
He was responding to a question on reports that Pakistan would receive 45 million ‘made in India’ doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
He said GAVI had offered doses to several countries including Pakistan under COVAX, the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access as an initiative launched by the World Health Organization to ensure vaccine access to the world’s most vulnerable.
To a question regarding update on missing Pakistani retired army office Habib Zahir in Nepal, the spokesperson said on request of the government, Nepal had constituted a special team to look into the incident, but there was no progress in the matter so far.
He mentioned that there was strong evidence pointing towards the involvement of Indian hostile agencies in the abduction of Habib Zahir, including involvement of Indian nationals who reportedly received him at Lumbini, made his hotel reservations and booked his tickets.
“The abduction of Habib Zahir is a serious transnational crime which is in sharp contravention to the international law, especially human rights and humanitarian law,” he said.
He said the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances had also registered the case of Habib Zahir, at the request of his family.
He urged upon the relevant authorities in India to respect the United Nations (UN) and constructively engage with the UN Working Group and take necessary steps to enable the immediate release of Habib Zahir.
The FO spokesperson said the resolution adopted by the Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Assembly demanding interim provincial status was “an expression of needs and demands of the local people”.
He strongly rejected the impression that the situation of GB was in any way comparable to that of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), where extrajudicial killings and illegal disappearances were a norm known to the international community.
He said India’s international scrutiny continued to grow as world watchdogs and foreign media spotlighted its non-compliance of human rights violations.
On Afghanistan situation, the spokesperson said Pakistan had consistently supported the Afghan peace process including facilitation to the United States Taliban Peace Agreement and subsequent intra-Afghan negotiations.
“Pakistan has continued to emphasize that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and the only way forward is through a political process,” he said.
He said it was important for Afghan parties to continue negotiations and pursue an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
“All sides must work together for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement,” he added.
The spokesperson welcomed the United States efforts to re-energize the peace process and expedite the final political settlement.
He said Pakistan favoured a “systemic and well-resourced” rehabilitation of Afghan refugees and mentioned that Pakistan had taken steps to facilitate the travel of Afghan nationals to Pakistan.
On the status of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the FO spokesperson said Pakistan remained committed to the SAARC process and long-awaited the holding of the summit in Islamabad.
He pointed out that India’s unwillingness led to artificial obstacles in way of the summit and stressed the need for the member countries to focus upon the matter for the sake of regional stability and development.
On the situation in IIOJK, he said the Indian occupation forces martyred another Kashmiri youth last week in a staged “cordon-and-search” operation in the Sopore town of Baramulla district.
He said Pakistan condemned the continuing extra-judicial killings by the Indian occupation forces in IIOJK and mentioned that independent voices continued to raise concerns on the gross human rights violations.
He mentioned that the European Parliament’s Sub-Committee on Human Rights discussed serious human rights situation and continued crackdown on civil society and human rights activists in IIOJK and India.
He said the United Kingdom parliamentarians expressed concern over human rights violations, the Forum for Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir published on grave IIOJK situation while the Editors Guild of India expressed its shock on regular detention of editors of Kashmir based publications by the Indian security forces.
The FO spokesperson said Pakistan called upon the Indian government to rescind all its illegal actions and take measures for resolutions of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in line with the relevant United Nations Security Council.