ISLAMABAD - The 6th round of Pakistan-Australia Bilateral Political Consultations was held in Islamabad yesterday.

Additional Secretary (Asia Pacific) Zahoor Ahmed and Richard Maude Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia led their respective delegations. The two sides discussed the whole gamut of bilateral relations, including political, economic, trade and investment, and people-to-people exchanges, and developments in their respective regions. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the progress made during the 8th Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting held in Islamabad on 8 October 2019 and the 7th meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Border Management and Transnational Crimes, held in February 2019 in Canberra.

The two delegations exchanged views on important global and regional issues. The Australian side was briefed on the Indian government’s aggressive posturing after its illegal and unilateral actions to change the internationally recognized disputed status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) and alter its demographic structure.

The Pakistan side emphasized that the international community should take cognizance of the dire situation in IOJ&K and the grave human rights violations being perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces against the Kashmiri people. The Australian side underlined the importance of resolving issues through dialogue and appreciated steps such as opening of the Kartarpur Corridor. The Australian side was also briefed on Pakistan’s efforts aimed at supporting the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. It was emphasized that a politically-negotiated settlement, led and owned by Afghans, was the only viable way forward. The Australian side appreciated Pakistan’s constructive role in the Afghan peace process.

Deputy Secretary Maude also called on Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international issues. The next round of Pakistan-Australia Bilateral Political Consultations will be held in Canberra on mutually agreed dates.