Islamabad - Pakistan yesterday rejected as “baseless, irresponsible and provocative” the Indian media allegations of its involvement in the terror attack in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka in which 20 foreigners were killed last week.

Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakariya issued a statement in response to media queries regarding reports of Pakistan’s alleged involvement in last week’s terror attack on a popular restaurant in Dhaka.

“These are highly regrettable, irresponsible and provocative stories being carried in the Indian media. They are utterly baseless and unfounded. Pakistan strongly rejects such allegations,” he said.

He drew attention to the clarification by the Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Gowher Rizvi, refuting a media report that was attributed to him regarding Pakistan’s involvement in the attack, as proof of the Indian media’s “malicious intent”.

“Professor Rizvi contacted Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh to confirm that he has not issued any statement against Pakistan and that the Indian media reports are false. He also advised Pakistan’s High Commissioner to convey this clarification to the Government of Pakistan, to avoid any misunderstanding between the two countries,” the Foreign Office spokesman said. He said Pakistan deeply appreciated Rizvi’s timely rebuttal of the reports.

Zakariya said Pakistan had strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Dhaka and “expressed solidarity with the government and the brotherly people of Bangladesh and offered condolences and sympathised with the families of the victims.”

“Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Being itself one of the biggest victims of terrorism, Pakistan welcomes Prof. Gowher Rizvi’s call for international cooperation to fight the menace of terrorism,” he added.

India’s NDTV television channel claimed the deadly terror attack was likely enabled by Pakistan’s agencies.

Last week, armed militants had killed 20 civilians after taking them hostage in a Bangladesh cafe overnight and many of the victims were hacked to death, a spokesperson said.

Also yesterday, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal made a telephonic contact with Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz from Medina and discussed the matter of overseas Pakistanis stranded in Saudi Arabia.

According to an official statement, the Adviser directed Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia to contact the Saudi Authorities and get resolved the problems being faced by the overseas Pakistanis.

Another statement said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassy of Pakistan in Riyadh were making every effort to resolve the difficulties being faced by Pakistan nationals working for M/s Saad Group of Companies in Dammam, due to non-payment of dues.

Around 8000 employees from different nationalities including Saudi nationals were affected. The number of Pakistanis was about five hundred, who are based at three different locations.

The embassy of Pakistan was in touch with Pakistani employees and the management of the company. The matter was taken up with the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Labour and Social Development of Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also taken up with this matter with the government of Saudi Arabia through Saudi Embassy in Islamabad.

The Pakistan embassy representatives have paid several visits to Dammam to meet the Pakistani workers and raise the matter with the Company management.

The Company management assured the embassy that efforts were in hand to resolve the matter. Since some workers had filed their cases in the labour court, the Company was waiting for the court’s verdict.

The embassy was also assisting the Pakistani workers in finalization of their court cases. The embassy representatives along with the representatives of the workers met with the judge of the relevant court for an early resolution of the matter, said the statement.

The foreign ministry the embassy in Riyadh were making relentless efforts to ensure that Pakistan nationals are paid their dues and “they are able to return to Pakistan, if they so desire,” added the statement.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi held a meeting with ambassador-designate of Azerbaijan Ali Alizada on yesterday and discussed bilateral relations and regional developments.

The SAPM underlined the importance Pakistan attaches to its fraternal ties with Azerbaijan during a meeting held here, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Fatemi recalled the visit of the President of Pakistan to Azerbaijan in March 2015, which, he said, provided an opportunity for the two sides to exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

The meeting focused on the mutual support extended by the two countries to each other on the issues of Nagorono-Karabakh and Jammu and Kashmir, which reflects convergence of views on key regional and international issues, the statement said.

The importance of high-level political exchanges and regular exchange of business delegations was also highlighted, it added.

The SAPM mentioned the crucial role of air connectivity in giving a boost to bilateral trade and economic interaction and people-to-people exchanges.

He assured the Ambassador-designate of full cooperation and assistance by the Government of Pakistan to enhance bilateral ties between the two countries.

The envoy said the Kashmir issue must be resolved through peaceful means like other international disputes.