Islamabad: Pakistan has urged the international community to take note of India’s aggressive posturing about taking “physical jurisdiction” of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, warning that such “belligerent” statements have the potential to further escalate tensions and seriously jeopardise peace in the region. Pakistan’s statement came hours after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar asserted that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is India’s part and one day New Delhi expects to have “physical jurisdiction” over it. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details He also asserted that there is no need to “worry” too much beyond a point about what people will say on Kashmir as it is an internal issue on which India’s position has “prevailed and will prevail.” Addressing his first press conference in New Delhi after assuming the office in the Modi 2.0 government in May, Jaishankar also hit out at Pakistan, saying India has a “unique challenge” from one neighbour and it would remain a challenge until that neighbour becomes a normal neighbour and acts against cross-border terrorism. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Asked about remarks by some Indian leaders that henceforth talks with Pakistan would be only about PoK and not on Kashmir, Jaishankar said, “our position has, is and will always be very clear on PoK, that it is part of India and we expect one day we will have physical jurisdiction over it.” Reacting sharply to Jaishankar’s statement, Pakistan on Tuesday said it calls on the international community to take “serious cognisance of India’s aggressive posturing” on PoK. Such “irresponsible and belligerent” statements from India have the potential to further escalate tensions and seriously jeopardise peace and security in the region,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement. “We strongly condemn and reject the inflammatory and irresponsible remarks” made by the Indian External Affairs Minister regarding Pakistan and PoK. “These remarks are an obvious manifestation of India’s utter frustration over the continued international censure of its egregious human rights violations in Kashmir,” the statement said. India cannot divert international attention from its crimes against the innocent people of Kashmir by blaming Pakistan, it said. Pakistan stands for peace, but would be ready to respond effectively to any act of aggression, the statement said. Instead of resorting to jingoistic rhetoric, India must rescind its illegal actions, stop forthwith grave human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, refrain from violating international law, and fully comply with UN Security Council resolutions for a final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, the statement added. Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Reacting to India’s move on Kashmir, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner. Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its “internal matter”. New Delhi has also asked Islamabad to accept the reality and stop its anti-India rhetoric. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly session in New York on September 27. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to speak on the same day. At his press conference when asked whether there could be a possibility of the leaders of India and Pakistan meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA, the external affairs minister commented, “just look at the climate of the relations right now, I think that itself should give you the answer that you are looking at.”
New Delhi: The Labour Ministry has notified 8.65 per cent interest rate on employees provident fund for 2018-19, which will now be credited to the accounts of more than 6 crore subscribers of retirement fund body EPFO, Union minister Santosh Gangwar said on Tuesday. The EPFO has been settling EPF withdrawal claims at 8.55 per cent interest rate, approved for 2017-18. Now, the EPFO will settle accounts at a higher rate of 8.65 per cent for 2018-19. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework “It gives me immense pleasure that for fiscal 2018-19, Labour Ministry has notified 8.65 per cent rate of interest on employees’ provident fund (EPF). This rate of interest is 10 basis points higher than 8.55 per cent provided in 2017-18,” Gangwar said in a statement issues here. “This rate of interest (8.65 per cent) was approved by the EPFO’s apex decision making body Central Board of Trustees on February 22, 2019. We received concurrence of the Finance Ministry on September 19, 2019. Thereafter, Labour Ministry issued a notification for providing 8.65 per cent rate of interest for 2018-19,” the minister said. The minister also informed that this decision would pave the way for crediting Rs 54,000 crore as 8.65 per cent interest for 2018-19, into the accounts of more than 6 crore EPFO subscribers. PTI had reported on September 19, 2019, that the government had approved 8.65 per cent rate of interest on EPF for 2018-19 fiscal year.