FO: (PM leaves for Belarus on Monday)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will leave for Minsk on Monday at the invitation of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.

This was stated by Foreign Office Spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah at his weekly news briefing here on Thursday. He said it will be the first ever visit of a Pakistani Prime Minister to the Republic of Belarus.

The spokesperson said during the course of the visit, the Prime Minister will hold delegation-level talks with the Belarusian President. He will also meet the Prime Minister of Belarus.

A number of important agreements and MOUs are expected to be signed during the visit. He said the prime minister will also participate in Pakistan-Belarus Business and Investment Forum. Pakistani Mango and Film festivals will also be held during the Prime Minister’s visit.

Responding to a question, the spokesperson said India has proposed dates of 23rd and 24th of this month for the meeting between National Security Advisors of the two countries in New Delhi. He said the proposed dates are under consideration of our government and agenda of the meeting is also being prepared.

When asked to comment on Indian accusations of Pakistani involvement in Gurdaspur and Udhampur attacks, the spokesperson said it is inappropriate to hurl accusations without investigation and concrete evidences.

On ceasefire violations by India, the spokesperson said Pakistan has always condemned the violations and lodged protests with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

When asked about Afghan peace process, Qazi Khalilullah said Pakistan’s role is that of a facilitator only and matters like finalizing dates and agenda of the talks rest with Afghanistan. He said lifting of sanctions on Iran will pave the way for greater economic interaction between the two countries including progress on the gas pipeline project.