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Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 06th August 2015

(2015-08-06) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]

Opening Remarks

Curtain Raiser: Prime Ministerís Visit to Belarus

The Prime Minister of Pakistan will be leaving for Minsk on August 10 at the official invitation of President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus. This will be the first ever visit by a Prime Minister of Pakistan to the Republic of Belarus. 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. The Chairman of the Council of Republic (upper house) and the Chairman of the House of Representatives (lower house) will also call on the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister will be conferred the title of Honorary Professor of the Belarus State University. A number of important Agreements/MOUs are expected to be signed during this visit. He is also expected to visit top Belarusian Industrial units. The Prime Minister will participate in the Pakistan-Belarus Business and Investment Forum. Pakistani Mango and Film Festivals will also be held during the Prime Ministerís visit. The Prime Ministerís visit is taking place soon after the Belarusian President had visited Pakistan in May this year, which is an indication of the common desire of the two countries to strengthen the existing close and friendly ties between Pakistan and Belarus.

The Floor is open for Questions

Question

During the last week, there have been media reports that India has proposed 23rd August 2015 for the meeting between National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan. Has Foreign Office received the dates formally? Whether Pakistan has responded to India that Pakistanís National Security Advisor is ready to go? Has the Foreign Office prepared its agenda? If yes, is Kashmir on top of the agenda or not?(Mateen Haider- Dawn News)

Answer

India has proposed meeting of the National Security Advisors of the two countries in New Delhi on 23-24 August 2015. These dates are under consideration of our Government. It is premature to talk about the agenda of the meeting which will be prepared in due course.

Question

At the end of your press release regarding the release of Indian fishermen, some humanitarian considerations were mentioned. Now Geeta has been here for the last thirteen years and Chanda is detained by the Indians and we still do not know whether she is a Pakistani citizen or not. My question is about these issues which are very much humanitarian in nature. The two countries had a Judicial Committee for prisoners, comprising of the retired judges of the superior courts, which is dysfunctional. Why that Committee has not been reactivated? What are the hurdles? How can these humanitarian issues be better considered by the two countries? (Shaukat Paracha- Aaj TV)

Supplementary Question

There are preparations for Geetaís return to India and India has released some 88 fishermen recently including a fisherman named Junejo who hails from Thatta. Unfortunately, his 8 year old son, Ghulam Hussain, was detained by India on the pretext that Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has not submitted his identity documents. What is the update as we have been frequently asking this question but unfortunately we have not been updated on Ghulam Hussainís status?(Zaghoon Shah- Geo TV)

Answer

You would recall that from time to time we have been releasing Indian fishermen on humanitarian grounds. Most recently, 163 Indian fishermen were released on 3 August 2015. As regards Geeta, you must have noted Indian High Commissionerís meeting with her in Karachi. We believe the Indian side is making efforts to locate her parents in India. As to Chanda Bibi, our High Commission in New Delhi is in touch with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, and has sought details about her. I do not have update on the Committee that you have mentioned.

Our Mission in New Delhi is pursuing the case of Ghulam Hussain. As soon as his national status is confirmed, he will be repatriated to Pakistan.

Question

Media reports have suggested that Indian authorities have arrested a terrorist, allegedly a Pakistani resident of Faisalabad. Has India contacted Pakistan in this regard? We keep getting such reports from the Indian media, but is Indian Government raising such issues with you? (Kaswar Kalasara - Pakistan Observer)

Supplementary Question

Lately, there have been a number of incidents such as the Gurdaspur attack, Udhampur where an alleged Pakistani named Usman or Naveed was arrested and his confession has been released. What is Pakistanís strategy to counter all such Indian propaganda against Pakistan? (Syed Mohsin Raza- Such TV)

Answer

I have seen media reports that a person has been arrested in India and is being projected as Pakistan national. However, I will not comment on media reports. We expect Indian authorities to share necessary information about him with us to enable verification of his national status.

On the second question, we have affirmed many times that terrorism is our common enemy and requires a cooperative approach to combat the menace rather than a blame game. Pointing fingers without investigations and evidence is not a healthy trend, on the part of Indian media.

Question

After Mulla Akhtar Mansour became the new Taliban Supreme Leader, the peace talks between the Afghan Government and the Afghan Taliban have stalled. Has Pakistan contacted the Afghan side for holding the second round of these peace talks?(Fida Hussain Ė Radio News Network 99)

Answer

Pakistanís role is that of a facilitator. The peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. It is, therefore, up to Afghans to decide about the date of the second round of peace talks. Pakistan facilitated the first round of talks and will also facilitate the next round. We hope Afghan leadership will stay engaged in the process of peace talks in order to promote a lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Question

Can you please comment on the situation which has arisen due to the recent ceasefire violations on the Working Boundary by India?(Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal- Kashmir Post)

Answer

You must have noticed that, over the past few weeks, we have issued a number of press releases condemning the ceasefire violations at the LoC and Working Boundary. Most recently, Acting Deputy Head of Mission of Indian High Commission was summoned to the Foreign Office on 4 August 2015, for lodging protest over ceasefire violations.

Question

Your American counterpart Mr. Mark Toner has recently said that IP Pipeline project will not benefit from Iran Nuclear Deal. Your comments on that please. Secondly, there are some unconfirmed reports that Mr. Zaid Hamid will be released soon from Saudi Arabian jail. What is the latest situation? (Muhammad Manafi - IRNA)

Answer

With regard to your first question, let me point out that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is at an early stage of implementation. Once fully implemented, it envisages lifting of sanctions on Iran which will pave the way for greater economic interaction between Pakistan and Iran, including the gas pipeline.

On your second question, as you know, I have been briefing the media about the latest developments regarding Mr. Zaid Hamid. On 28th July, his wife was able to meet him again with the assistance of our Embassy in Riyadh. I am not aware of any report about his possible release. However, as soon as I have any information I will share it with the media.

Question

There are reports that Pakistan and Russia have reached an agreement regarding a gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore. Can you share details of the project?(Riaz ĖMishal News)

Answer

Russia has shown interest in gas pipeline project from Karachi to Lahore, called South-North gas pipeline. Both sides are in contact in this regard.

Question

A Pakistani youth Ghulam Hussain is detained in Saudi Arabiaís Jazan jail on the charges of driving a taxi without license. He has completed his sentence. Can Foreign Office do something for his release?Secondly, recently the UK High Commissioner met with Interior Minister regarding Pakistanís complaints against the speech of Mr. Altaf Hussain and his repatriation to Pakistan on the charges of speaking against the country and its institutions. Has Foreign Office done anything in this regard like preparing or sending any letter to the British authorities? (Zarghoon Shah- Geo TV)

Answer

I have noted the details that you have shared with us about Mr. Ghulam Hussain. We will find out his status with the help of our Embassy.

As to your second question, you are aware that the Interior Minister has held detailed press conferences on the issue. I am not in a position to add anything to it.

Question

Just four days ago, former Director General of FIA Mr. Tariq Khosa wrote an article that became very popular in India. He was the officer who himself conducted investigations in connection with Mumbai attacks. In his article he said that the Mumbai attacks were financed by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Zakiur Rehman Lakhviand a number of others were directly involved in the attack from Pakistan. What would you like to say on this article of a very senior Pakistani official who was part of the investigation process and now he has disclosed all this? (Mateen Haider- Dawn News)

Answer

I will not comment on views of an individual and related media reports. Trial is still going on with regard to Mumbai attacks. You are aware that additional information is required from India so that the trial can be concluded in Pakistan.