ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said that the raids on the BBC offices in India on Tuesday were just another sign of the country’s constricting media freedom environment and a stain on India’s democratic credentials.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said the raids were retaliation for the BBC documentary on the Gujrat massacre of 2002 and India’s illegal and unilateral actions in Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. She made this statement in response to questions at her weekly news briefing in Islamabad.

According to her, Pakistan has continued to express concern over the situation and demand for a fair and peaceful resolution of the issue in line with the resolutions of the UN Security Council as human rights abuses in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir continue unabatedly.

The second session of the Pakistan-US mid-level defence dialogue, according to the spokesman, is now taking place in Washington and will cover a variety of topics, including defence and security cooperation in a larger regional and global context.

The US side is headed by Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Dr. Ely Ratneu, while the Pakistani delegation is led by Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Muhammad Saeed.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that US Department of State Counselor Derek Chollet will be visiting Pakistan with an interagency group starting today (Thursday).

The visit will be centred on the institutionalised bilateral engagement process in trade and investment, climate change, renewable energy, health, security, and other common concerns.

It will also be considered how long-term collaboration with the United States might help with flood recovery and rehabilitation.

She also gave an overview of Pakistan’s humanitarian assistance to Syrian and Turkish earthquake-affected regions, noting that so far, 12 planes and 21 NLC trucks have been sent to Turkey, while 2 aircraft and 12 trucks have been sent to Syria.

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