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Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 02 July 2015

(2015-07-02) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]

There are no opening remarks

The Floor is open for Questions

Question

The Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan while talking with Khyber News said that China has been in contact with Afghan Taliban and both Beijing and Islamabad are on the same page regarding peace and security in Afghanistan. What is the nature of consultations and coordination between Beijing and Islamabad? Is there any type of strategy or policy for bringing Afghan Taliban in the mainstream of politics? (Mudassir Hussain- Khyber News)

Answer

We have said on a number of occasions that Pakistan has been facilitating the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, which is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. China also has interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan. We have been discussing with China ways to support the peace process in Afghanistan. You would recall that the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, had recently confirmed that we have been facilitating the process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. We will continue to extend our support in this regard.

Question

My question is regarding Mr. Zaid Hamid, a Pakistani scholar who is under arrest in Saudi Arabia. Has Pakistan Embassy been given consular access? Has any information been provided by our Consulate or Embassy in Saudi Arabia regarding the exact nature of charges by the Saudi authorities against Mr. Zaid Hamid? What efforts are underway for his early release? Can you confirm that the sentence awarded to him has officially been communicated to the Government of Pakistan? (Mateen Haider - Dawn News)

Answer

Since yesterday, I have been constantly in touch with our Embassy in Saudi Arabia. Our Embassy has officially requested the host authorities to convey factual position in view of media reports about the sentence given to Mr. Zaid Hamid, provide consular access and intimate charges against him. Response of the concerned authorities of Saudi Arabia is awaited.

Question

Our Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Dr. Maleeha Lodhi is in Pakistan. There has been a lot of speculation that she is here for consultations on the issue of Indian involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan. Is it true that she is here for this purpose? My other question is that Pakistan wrote a letter to the UK authorities seeking their cooperation on the alleged involvement of RAW in MQM funding. What exactly has been Pakistan's contention because this letter has been routed through the Foreign Ministry? Have we received anything from the UK in this regard? (Shaukat Paracha- Aaj TV)

Answer

As you are aware, the annual session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) is the main event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This year's UNGA Session has added significance as it coincides with the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations. A Special Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda including the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is also scheduled at the beginning of the September Session. There are other high-level events planned on peace and security and development issues on the sidelines of the September Session. The Prime Minister is likely to attend the September Session.

Pakistan's Permanent Representative in New York is in Islamabad for routine consultations. Broad range of issues of Pakistan's interest at the United Nations is being discussed in these consultations.

Regarding your other question, let me repeat what we had said in our press release earlier. The Government of Pakistan is in touch with British authorities with a view to seeking information and facts of the report as its contents are of vital significance to the State of Pakistan. So far, to the best of my knowledge, we have not received any response.

Question

Given the series of events starting from the allegations by the Afghan National Directorate of Security against ISI, followed by cancellation of Afghan Interior Minister's visit to Pakistan, then President Ashraf Ghani's slamming of Pakistan and, last but not the least, yesterday's attack on Pakistani territory in the Angoor Adda area reflects that the honeymoon between Afghanistan and Pakistan is now over. Do you agree with the fact that President Ashraf Ghani is pressured by strong anti-Pakistan elements within the National Unity Government who are bent upon ruining Pak-Afghan relations? (Zarghoon Shah-Geo TV).

Answer

First of all the visit of the Afghan Interior Minister was postponed because of the security situation in Afghanistan. It had nothing to do with the kind of scenario that you have presented.

On the Angoor Adda attack, ISPR has already issued a statement regarding the firing incident. I would like to briefly recapitulate it. An RPG 7 rocket and few rounds of small arms were fired on Angoor Adda gate from the Afghan side due to which two Pakistani security personnel were injured. Pakistani troops responded and targeted the positions from where fire was coming.

Finally, we have seen media reports regarding the remarks attributed to the President of Afghanistan. However, according to our information, these remarks are factually incorrect.

A peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is in Pakistan's best interest. Non-interference in internal affairs of Afghanistan is the key pillar of our Afghan policy. During the Prime Minister's visit to Kabul on 12 May 2015, the two leaders agreed to strictly adhere to the policy of non-interference and not allow our respective territories to be used against the other.

The two leaders also share a mutual conviction to overcome the past, and build a forward-looking relationship, based on trust and understanding and are constructively engaged to rebuild mutual trust and understanding for a cooperative relationship.

Question

My question is also regarding Afghanistan. The Afghan authorities claimed that the Angoor Adda gate is being constructed in a conflict zone between Afghanistan and Pakistan. What are your comments on this? (Saima Shabbir- Al Jazeera International TV)

Answer

It is being constructed well within the Pakistani territory.

Question

Regarding the BCC report, you gave us a detailed response. Would you please comment on the reports that India is trying to influence the response that Pakistan is due to get from the UK authorities on the matter? (Waqas Rafique- Capital TV)

Answer

I do not have any comment on your question. We are waiting for response from the British authorities.

Question

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is going to attend the SCO Summit in the Russian city of Ufa, and so is the Indian Prime Minister as reports coming out of New Delhi suggest. Is there is a likelihood of a meeting between the two Prime Ministers? Has any side contacted the other about a possible meeting over there?(Shaukat Paracha- Aaj TV)

Answer

No side has contacted the other for a meeting so far. However, as you would be aware, in any multilateral setting meetings among Heads of State and Government is a normal feature.

Question

My question is regarding the peace and negotiations process in Afghanistan. Are you in a position to confirm whether Pakistan is continuing its efforts for reconciliation? Are there any impediments in its way? (Fakhar-ur-Rehman- Dunya News)

Answer

As I have said before, we are committed to good neighborly relations with Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan. We are committed to supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. We have been supporting this process and we will continue to support it.

Question

Yesterday, Pakistan and India exchanged prisoners' lists. How many Pakistani prisoners have completed their sentence and are waiting for their release? What efforts are being made by the Government of Pakistan for their early release?

Secondly, a couple of days ago, another dead body was handed over to the Pakistani authorities of a person who had mistakenly crossed the Line of Control. However, he was tortured to death by Indian authorities in their custody. Your comments please. ( Mateen Haider-Dawn News)

Answer

Your first question requires detailed information which I do not have at the moment. I will have to check.

As to your second question, a few days ago, the Indian side informed us that Waheed Noor Khan, who was detained in India since 2009, and lodged in Sopore jail, died in an explosion in a police van, while returning to jail from a court hearing. His mortal remains were handed over to the Pakistani authorities on 26 June 2015.

Our High Commission in New Delhi has approached the Ministry of External Affairs of India to seek details of the incident, which are awaited.

Question

There are reports that the Saudi authorities have denied consular access to Zaid Hamid. Do you confirm that? (Amjad Ali-PTV News)

Answer

Saudi authorities have not denied consular access to Mr. Zaid Hamid. Our request for consular access to him is under consideration.

Question

I would like to draw your attention towards media reports suggesting that massive recruitment is underway in Afghanistan for IS. Some of the reports also suggest that the funding is coming from the Indian side. Has Pakistan contacted the Afghan authorities about this issue? (Maqbool Malik- Nation)

Answer

It is not for me to comment on this issue. However, let me reiterate that Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to take coordinated actions against terrorists. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.