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‘Aasia Bibi a free citizen’: FO confirms Christian woman has left country

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday confirmed that Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who was acquitted by the Supreme Court in a blasphemy case last year, has left the country.

Speaking at a weekly briefing in the federal capital, Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said, “Aasia Bibi was a free citizen, therefore, she left the country at her will.”

He urged the World Bank to fulfill its responsibility regarding empanelment of Court of Arbitration for resolution of water related disputes between Pakistan and India.

He reacted strongly to the recent statements of Indian leadership on the Indus Water Treaty.

The spokesperson said both Pakistan and India are signatory to the treaty but regretted that New Delhi is violating it. He said we are involved in the dispute resolution mechanism in the World Bank but lamented the matter has not been sorted out.

The spokesperson said Pakistan desires that the Indus Water Treaty remains intact and its dispute resolution mechanism moves forward. The spokesperson reiterated that Pakistan desires better relations with India.

About India’s decision to increase its defence budget, he said the increase is aimed at pushing the region into an arms race.

India should know that increasing defence budget alone won’t make any difference, he said in a reference to the Feb 27-28 military exchanges between the two neighbouring countries.

“Passion to defend the country’s sovereignty counts,” the spokesperson said.

He said Pakistan expressed deep concern over Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks to have “Pakistan downgraded on the FATF list.” “The State Bank reconfirms Pakistan’s longstanding concerns that the FATF’s technical forum is being politicised by India against Pakistan,” he said.

Dr Faisal recalled that the Foreign Office summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner and lodged a strong protest over the recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) that led to the martyrdom of three civilians.

About the recent cross-Afghan border  attack that killed three soldiers of the Pakistan Army, he said Pakistan lodged a strong protest with the Afghan government over the terror incident.

The spokesperson said the situation in Libya is very grave and that Pakistani mission in the country has taken necessary measures for protection of Pakistanis living there.

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