Pakistan is committed to complete the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project as it considers it an important one that symbolizes friendship between Pakistan and Iran, Foreign Office Spokesperson said. Speaking during the weekly press briefing here on Thursday, FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said there were some issues regarding completion of the project for which both countries were engaged in talks. “We will continue to discuss with Iran all aspects of the completion of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline,” she added. With respect to the US report on religious freedom, she said “Pakistan categorically reject the baseless assertions made about Pakistan in the International Religious Freedom Report released by the U.S. Department of State. Such ill-informed reporting exercises about internal affairs of sovereign states are pointless, irresponsible and counterproductive”. She said Pakistan strongly believed that each state itself had the primary responsibility to promote and protect religious rights and freedoms of its nationals. Meanwhile she said, Pakistan had been closely following the developments in Gaza and other Occupied Palestinian Territories and was concerned about the impact of violence on the civilian population. “We strongly condemn the loss of precious lives of more than 33 Palestinians including women and children over the last several days and pray for the recovery of those injured.” Replying to a question, she said for the last seven decades, Pakistan had been a consistent and passionate supporter of the Kashmir cause and the rights of the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir including their right to self-determination as envisioned under the UN Security Council resolutions and promised by the international community several decades ago. She said Pakistan had consistently made its position clear on the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan’s principled stance on the Kashmir dispute. “Our principled stance is rooted in the UN Security Council Resolutions which call for a resolution of the Kashmir dispute on the basis of the aspirations of the Kashmiri people as determined under a free and fair UN supervised plebiscite and this position has not changed.” To another question, the FO spokesperson said Pakistan was passing through a difficult situation. However she believed that Pakistan had the capacity to persevere in adversity. “We have in the past overcome many challenges and we will InshaAllah come out of the current challenging situation with national consensus, will of the people and on the basis of our laws and Constitution.” Regarding the Afghan refugees, she said Pakistan had remained in contact with our Afghan friends and brothers for the return of Afghan refugees in dignity and in safety to their homeland. “We hope that the situation in Afghanistan improves and they are able to return home very soon.” Responding to a question, she said the Government of Pakistan and its Missions abroad including those in the Middle East were fully committed to facilitating Pakistanis in distress, Pakistanis who may be involved in accidents or who may have other challenges when they are abroad. “Our embassies work with the concerned departments of the host governments to ensure that the interests of Pakistanis overseas are protected. At the same time, we respect the laws and regulations of the country concerned and we encourage Pakistani nationals there to respect those laws as well. With respect to specific cases, I would advise you to send a separate inquiry to us so that we can consult our concerned Missions,” she said.