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Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 24 November 2016

(2016-11-24) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]

Opening Remarks

Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum

For more than 4 months now, the human rights situation in IoK has only been worsening by the day. More than 150 people have been martyred and more than 1000 blinded, partially or completely, and over 16,000 have been injured, scores of among them are critical and maimed for the rest of their lives.

These atrocious acts of human rights violations by Indian occupation forces in IoK are matter of deep concern to us. We will continue to provide political, moral and diplomatic support to the just cause of Kashmiri people until their right to self determination is realized in accordance with UNSC resolutions.

While India was already killing helpless Kashmiris in IoK, they are targeting civilians across LoC/WB. Their unprovoked ceasefire violations and targeted firing has resulted in the causalities of 44 civilians and injured 135 during last two months alone. We have been constantly taking up the issue of grave human rights violations in IoK with the International Community and also at the relevant forums as well as with India through diplomatic channels. Indian hostilities at the LoC and other attempts to raise tension are aimed at diverting the attention of the international community from gross human rights violations in IoK, perpetrated by the Indian forces. There is a rising concern among the international community over the plight of Kashmiris in IoK. Parliamentarians in various countries have joined the civil society members in their respective regions to add their voice along with the Kashmiri and Pakistani Diaspora there. A number of events have organized a many others have been scheduled to sensitize the people and their governments on the India's crimes against humanity and genocide of Kashmiris. Some Parliamentarians have also forcefully raised the issue in respective their Parliaments. On 22 November, Australian Senator Lee Rhiannon, made a powerful statement in the Parliament regarding Indian atrocities in IoK. In UK too, similar voices have been raised.

Now the Floor is open for Questions

Question

In the wake of the recent attack on Pakistani bus by Indian forces across LoC, we have heard reports that DGMO's from Pakistan and India have made contact. What practical step is Pakistan taking to deescalate tension in the region? I must add that what India has done yesterday is not done by any civilized country even in a state of war! (Naveed Akbar - Dunya Newspaper)

Answer

We have condemned in the strongest possible terms the targeting of innocent civilians in a passenger bus by the Indian occupation forces, yesterday. Indian forces have been ceasefire violations during previous years and each time it would be to serve some agenda of theirs. In 2014 they violated ceasefire for over 400 times at a time when they had state assemblies elections. This year, they have violated the ceasefire more than 300 ceasefire times.

As against Indian violation of 2003 ceasefire understanding, Pakistan has only responded to the Indian aggression forcefully, proportionately and in a befitting manner. It remains the endeavour of the Pakistan army not to target civilians.

Pakistan has forcefully raised its voice against these acts of Indian aggression to sensitize the international community about Indian designs in the region and how Indian irresponsible could be detrimental to the peace of the region. Our efforts to create awareness about India's human rights violations in IoK and hostile posturing are an ongoing effort. We will continue to highlight this issue until India stops Kashmiris' bloodshed and peacefully resolves the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and all other contentious issues.

Question

I want to ask whether we used this opportunity of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visit to raise the question of MQM Chief Altaf Hussain's investigations, especially in Imran Farooq murder case? (Abdullah Farooqi - BBC)

Answer

The subject is dealt with by the Ministry of Interior. You may approach them for details.

I want to refer to the Interior Minister's visit to UK recently, during which he met the British leadership when all important issues of mutual interest were discussed.

Question

Now that the situation at LoC has heated up due to India's nefarious designs against Pakistan, will Pakistan participate in the upcoming Heart of Asia Conference to be held in India? (Shahid Ajmal - South Asian News Agency)

Answer

You have already seen the Adviser's statement in this regard. I am not in a position to respond in the context. I believe that the situation with India was still worse when the Adviser announced decision to participate in the Heart of Asia Conference. Moreover, it is the objective of the meeting which is of relevance. Pakistan remains committed to extending full support and will play a constructive role in all initiatives aimed at bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. It is in this context and commitment that he announced Pakistan's participation.

Question

We have seen media reports that DGMOs of both countries have made contact. Could you share with us the response of the Indian side? (Khalid Mahmood - Express TV)

Answer

Pakistani DGMO conveyed to his counterpart that targeting of civilians is not acceptable under any circumstances, and must be stopped immediately. This mechanism of contact at the level of DGMOs is in place and has been used in the past also when situations arose between the two countries that warranted an immediate contact between them.

Question

Visiting British Foreign Secretary pointed out that the relationship between Pakistan and UK will become a strategic partnership based on 'security, trade and culture'. Are you in a position to give more details about this new relationship (Fakhar ur Rehman - Turkish News Agency)

Answer

What he said was that the relationship between the two countries is rock solid and based on the historic linkages between the two countries, which is further reinforced by the presence of over a million strong Pakistani Diaspora in UK with deep family linkages in Pakistan. He even mentioned in passing that even he had family roots in Pakistan.

We have a Strategic Dialogue with the UK, which was established a few years back and a number of meetings were held. This mechanism has various segments including culture, education, defense, security, trade & investment. During our talks, a number of areas of mutual interest under these segments were discussed. Both sides have identified areas of common interest, particularly those of interest to the businessmen and investors. Both sides also discussed steps to be taken to fully exploit the potential for boosting economic ties between the two countries.

Question

Was there was any discussion with British Secretary of State Boris Johnson regarding CPEC? Moreover, India is creating hurdles in the implementation of CPEC projects. Yours comments please? (Shakeel Kalyana - Relation Times)

Answer

A whole range of issues were discussed during the meeting. CPEC has evinced of many countries including the UK. The dignitary was briefed about CPEC. It is an economic development project, which will benefit not just Pakistan and China but the entire region. It is a project about regional connectivity and prosperity. He expressed the UK’s keen interest.

As for your query regarding CPEC's security challenges, our neighbour, India, has openly said that they oppose CPEC. Subsequently, we have learnt in the public confession of Kulbushan Yadav that CPEC is one of the prime targets of sabotage and subversive activities by Indian intelligence agency, RAW, in Pakistan. The charge sheet of 8 personnel of Indian High Commission in Islamabad, who were also involved in the activities detrimental to Pakistan's security, also reflected designs, inter alia, against CPEC. It needs to be understood that CPEC is about the economic development of the region and it is going to benefit everyone.

Question

British Foreign Secretary just said that his country encourages India and Pakistan to resume dialogue process and he also shared concerns on the situation on the both sides of LoC. What is our response? (Ali Hasnain–Business Recorder)

Answer

Our response has been consistent since the beginning. We believe that all issues in the region should be resolved peacefully – through dialogue. Unfortunately, India has not been forthcoming for meaningful and sustained dialogue. You might recall that in the wake of Burhan Wani’s extrajudicial killing by Indian occupation forces in IoK, when the situation in Kashmir was worsening due to Indian brutalities, Pakistan had called for an exclusive dialogue on Kashmir. Pakistan believes in resolving all conflicts through peaceful means.

We briefed him on India's aggressive designs. There was a clear understanding as to where things were leading to, and what role international community and UK could play in this regard.

Question

Despite heated up situation on LoC, with India going to any length to start a armed conflict with Pakistan, are you categorically saying that Adviser Sartaj Aziz will participate in the Heart of Asia Conference despite pressure from political parties and think tanks within Pakistan to the contrary. Why show this open heartedness?

Secondly, how would you comment on the media reports that Saudi Arabia has banned transgenders from performing Umrah in future? (Abid Khursheed - ATV)

Answer

As to your first question, as a matter of policy, we do not comment on the statements made by our Parliamentarians or our leadership.

On your second question, we do not comment on media reports.