FO confirms 7 Pakistani drowned in Libya boat wreck
The Foreign Office on Thursday claimed seven Pakistani nationals drowned in a boat wreck near Libya’s port city Benghazi, a few days ago.
At a weekly briefing, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said the embassy of Pakistan in Libya was facilitating the process of identification of the bodies.
Talking about a similar incident near Italy, she said 59 people died, including some children, when a wooden sailing boat carrying migrants crashed against rocks on the southern Italian coast early on Sunday.
The FO spokesperson said bodies from both the accidents would be transported to Pakistan with the support of local authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
She said the embassy and Foreign Affairs Ministry were in contact with the families of the deceased.
FM’s foreign visits
Ms Baloch mentioned that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari would visit New York in the context of a conference on ‘Women in Islam: Understanding the rights and Identity of Women in the Islamic World’, being held on March 8.
As an initiative of the FM himself, she said, the conference is being convened by Pakistan in its capacity as the chair of the OIC Council of Ministers at the UN Headquarters on the sidelines of the 67th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
She further said the foreign minister would chair the high-level and policy dialogue segments, with ministerial-level participation from OIC member states and non-OIC states, in addition to the leadership of the UN, UN Women, and other international organizations.
On March 10, the foreign minister will headline an event on Islamophobia in New York.
It may be recalled that last year, at the initiative of Pakistan, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 15 as the Day to Combat Islamophobia.
German FM’s visit to Pakistan
The FO spokesperson also announced that Germany’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Tobias Lindner would pay his maiden visit to Pakistan from March 4-7.
She said his meeting with the minister of state for foreign affairs would review bilateral relations between Pakistan and Germany, besides discussions on economic cooperation, climate change, and regional matters of mutual interest.
This visit is taking place within days of the visit of the FM and the state minister to Germany for the Munich Security Dialogue.
NAM session in Baku
The spokesperson also said that Economic Affairs Minister Ayaz Sadiq is leading a delegation from Pakistan to the Summit of the Contact Group of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on post-COVID-19 pandemic global recovery, being held in Baku from March 1-3.
Indian army atrocities in held Kashmir
Ms Baloch also highlighted the ongoing human rights violations in India-held Kashmir (IHK) during February, and mentioned that last month, the Indian troops killed five Kashmiris – two of them in custody.
As many as 115 youths were arbitrarily arrested, while seven were injured, as Indian forces continued to use brute force on peaceful protesters.
The so-called “cordon and search operations” that totaled 193 last month, remain a tool for the occupation forces to intimidate and harass the Kashmiris, she said.
The FO spokesperson said Pakistan would continue to raise its voice against the grave human rights violations in IHK.