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Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 09 February 2017

(2017-02-09) [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


We strongly condemn the killing of 6 innocent Afghan Red Cross workers. We condole and sympathise with the bereaved families.

India is constantly violating ceasefire at the LoC, which resulted in the loss of lives of the innocent civilians. Indian belligerence continues to pose threat to the peace in the region, which the Int'l Community should take note of.

Indian occupation forces have placed Hurriyat Leaders under arrest to keep them from observing peaceful protest on the anniversary of Afzal Guru, a case of miscarriage of justice. India Army soldiers barged into a coaching centre in Lassipura village of Pulwama district on Tuesday and thrashed students and teachers mercilessly. The students were dragged out and beaten ruthlessly with guns injuring many. Indian police vandalized J&K Liberation Front office in Kupwara distt.

Joint Resistance Leadership, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik have called for a complete shutdown to observe martyrdom of various Kashmiri leaders, who laid their lives for the legitimate cause of Kashmiri people, protested against non-state subjects / non Kashmiris running medical centres. The members of High Court Bar association have demanded settlement of Kashmir dispute in accordance with UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir, under a UN supervised plebiscite.

Kashmiris have rejected a draft bill by the sham government that gives police AFSPA like powers, which will convert J&K into a more lawless state. This is deplorable. According to Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) 8000 Kashmiris in IOK have been disappeared.

Now the Floor is open for Questions


Question

My first question is regarding the PIA flight, which was diverted to Stansted airport and escorted by British Military Aircraft. Could you elaborate on the main issue, including whether will Pakistan take up this issue with UK authorities?

Secondly, we have seen media reports that Myanmar is in advance negotiations with Pakistan to buy JF-17 Thunder. Do you confirm these reports? (Naveed Siddique - Dawn TV)


Answer

As to your first question, I have seen the media reports and will share more details once received.

Let me tell you that our High Commission in London is in contact with the British authorities regarding this matter.

With regard to your second question, you may like to check with the Ministry of Defence for a response.


Question

According to media reports, Trump Administration has assured Pakistan for not taking any harsh step against it and that a high level delegation led by Adviser Sartaj Aziz could visit US in the near future for confidence building between the two countries. Can you share more details in this regard?

Secondly, according to media reports, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has deported 39,000 Pakistanis in the last four months. Nationals of other countries have also been deported. Those countries are taking up this matter with the Saudi authorities. Therefore, number of their nationals being deported is lesser. Can you please share on this! (Essa Naqvi - Dunya News)


Supplementary Question

According to media reports, these deportees are involved in minor crimes but some of them are allegedly involved in terror related activities. Whether these people are being investigated or over there or they have returned to Pakistan? (Abid Khursheed - ATV)


Answer

This issue has come up many times in the past and I have also given detailed replies on the subject. You may like to refer to my earlier response on our website. Deportation of nationals of various countries from the Gulf and Western countries is not specific to Pakistan but the nationals of various other countries also get deported regularly. Violation of the local laws, when committed by the members of expatriate communities, result in the deportation of the offenders. Singling out one country in the context reflects the intention of those pushing such reports. Export of manpower to meet the other countries' labour market requirement from Pakistan is mutually beneficial for both the sides. Our Diaspora abroad have not only contributed to the economy of Pakistan but also in the development of the countries of their residence.

With regard to your second question, what you are referring to are media reports on which we do not comment. I am not aware of the status of those who may have been deported. Our Missions remain in contact with the relevant authorities. Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

As to your second question, we are in touch with the new Administration in D.C. and have been assured that no proposal to include Pakistan in the list of banned countries is under consideration. US Embassy in Islamabad has also issued a statement to this effect.

As regards the visit, Pakistan and the US do have regular high level exchanges and we look forward to maintaining the momentum in our exchanges.


Question

After India's concerted but futile attempts to portray Pakistan as a terrorist state, a bill has been presented in the Indian Parliament recently, accusing Pakistan of sponsoring terror. With Indian efforts against Pakistan failing what do you think will Indian desperation further spoil relations with Pakistan? (Fakhar-ru-Rehman - Turkish News Agency)


Answer

Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism, including the Indian state sponsored terrorism in Pakistan as well as in Indian occupied Kashmir. I have mentioned this on many occasions that Indian involvement in perpetrating terrorist activities and terror financing in Pakistan has been proven. The dossier on Kulbhushan Yadav and other details of Indian involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan have already been submitted to the UN Secretary General last month. Earlier also in 2015 we had submitted dossiers on the details of Indian subversive activities in Pakistan. The Indian state terrorism against the defenceless Kashmiris in IOK is also a case in point.


Question

According to Indian media reports, India has signed deals worth Rs. 200bn. India has also increased its defence budget, significantly. How does Pakistan see Indian defence spending and nuclear weapons build-up in terms of its bearing on the regional peace? (Shaukat Paracha - Aaj TV)


Answer

Indian defence build-up, both nuclear and conventional, is a direct threat to Pakistan and the region, at large. India completed its plan of nuclear triad recently with the commissioning of nuclear capable submarine. It has been building Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles and Anti-Ballistic missile system. It has stockpile of fissile material for producing nuclear weapons outside the IAEA safeguards. It is also building a secret nuclear city in South India, which according to Foreign Policy investigative report, is to produce thermonuclear weapons.

With conventional weapons balance already disturbed, India's nuclear weapons build-up has dangerous proportions to tip the strategic balance and endanger the peace of the region and beyond. The perils of such an uncalled for defence build-up should be seen in the backdrop of Indian Defence Minister's statement on reviewing the 'nuclear no-first use' and admission by the Indian Army Chief about their 'Cold Start doctrine', which confirmed Pakistan's claims and justified our credible minimum nuclear deterrence.

International Community should take note and check Indian rapid expansion in conventional and nuclear weapons.


Question

We understand that Pakistan offers all out support to facilitate peace process in Afghanistan. Recently, Pakistan, China and Russia held a trilateral meeting in Moscow on 27 Dec. 2016. Moscow has recently announced another meeting on Afghanistan in mid-February. Whether the two are connected? How do you see these developments helping the peace process in Afghanistan and whether Taliban have sent a message to join these meetings? (Mian Abrar - Pakistan Today)


Supplementary Question

With regard to the same meeting announced by Russia, India has also been invited to the regional conference on Afghanistan. Will Pakistan participate in this conference or not? (Tariq Sial - Daily Times)


Answer

Pakistan has been invited to the meeting and we are likely to attend. The evolving situation in Afghanistan and its bearing on the regional peace and stability is expected to be reviewed. Pakistan is committed to peace in Afghanistan and extends sincere support to the initiatives to that end. It is a new initiative.


Question

My question also pertains to Russia's recent announcement of holding a regional conference on Afghanistan, which includes India also. We already know of Indian designs to foment unrest and instability in Pakistan through subversive activities. Do you think that India's participation in the conference will be beneficial? (Qasim Nauman - Wall Street Journal)


Answer

Pakistan is committed to see peace in Afghanistan. You recall, Pakistan's participation in the Heart of Asia Conference has a similar stance. And world had seen the attitude of one country, which actually exposed that country. Pakistan's participation at the conference was a manifestation that Pakistan is fully committed to efforts aimed at bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan. Understandably, the meeting in Moscow is about the situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan is deeply committed to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and extend sincere cooperation in all such initiatives that are aimed at bringing peace in Afghanistan.


Question

We have seen in present day Donald Trump's travel ban that families are now threatened to separate from each other. On the other hand, families between Kargil and Ladhakh have been separated for over four decades. Many documentaries have also been made on their plight. Are the two countries taking any initiatives to unite the family members of these two regions? (Fida Hussain - Radio News Network)


Answer

You are well aware that the main bone of contention between Pakistan and India is the issue of Kashmir. Indian posture towards Pakistan has remained hostile. India doesn't want to engage in meaningful dialogue with Pakistan. Our policy of good neighborliness is aimed at securing regional peace and prosperity. We believe that South Asian Region holds a lot of potential from which the people of this region stand to benefit. Pakistan remains open to a meaningful and result-oriented dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, particularly the issue of Jammu & Kashmir, in accordance with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. However, our overtures and initiatives have not been reciprocated from the Indian side.


Question

My question is with regard to Samjhauta Express terrorist attack. When did Pakistan last contact India to seek sharing of details of the investigations, and whether India has shared any details of the investigations so far with us? If not, will Pakistan take up this matter with the international community? (Fayyaz Raja - Channel 92)


Answer

Regarding the question on Samjhauta Express terrorist attack, despite India's commitment at the highest political level, they have not shared any evidence to date with us. Instead, with the passage of time, they have even exonerated. Swami Aseemanand, the RSS leader, made a public confession that he was the mastermind of that terrorist act and Col Parohit, then an active service Indian Army officer, who headed another terrorist organization Abhinav Bharat, was also involved. They worked in tandem with IB, RAW and other agencies of India.

Pakistan has and will continue to raise the issue of Samjhauta Express terrorist attack not only bilaterally with India, but also with the international community. Let me reiterate at the cost of repetition that Pakistan has noted with deep concern India's attempts to exonerate those who have publically confessed of their involvement in the Samjhauta Express terrorist attack.


Question

Indian Home Minister at an election rally, while playing Pakistan card in domestic politics, made a ridiculous demand for referendum in Pakistan for merger with India. This is a typical 'Akhand Bharat' mindset. Your comments please. (Amjad Ali - PTV News)


Answer

Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism, especially Indian state agencies' sponsored terrorism, about which we have informed the International Community previously also. Such remarks clearly violate the UN Charter and respect for sovereignty of a member state. Unfortunately the domestic politics in India has been used to further anti - Pakistan agenda by the BJP Government.

The Kashmiris have ridiculed the statement by saying that 'India is aware about the possible results of referendum in Kashmir and that is the reason they are resorting to such meaningless statements. They also rejected Home Minister's assertion that Kashmir belongs to India. The remarks by the Indian Home Minister do not merit further comments.


Question

In a recently concluded Corps Commander's Conference, it was highlighted that the situation at LoC and Working Boundary is perilous for peace in the region. Foreign Office has recently briefed representative of international community on the precarious situation in Kashmir. Do you think that the international community has the same realization, and what is their response to the dangers of regional peace in South Asia? (Khalid Jameel - Abb Tak)


Answer

I have said it in the opening remarks also, that the situation at LoC, which India is heating up for quite some time now, where violations by the Indian side has crossed more than 400 times in a few months, should be a matter of serious concern. We have raised this issue repeatedly with the international community bilaterally and at various forums, and how this Indian belligerence is dangerously impacting peace and security in the region.

I presume you mentioned about the briefing done by Foreign Office with reference to Kashmir Solidarity Day. We also reiterated during the briefing, the perils of escalating tensions resulting from India's continuous violation of the understanding of ceasefire in 2003. More importantly, the loss of innocent civilian lives is a matter of major concern.

It is now evident that the main reason India tries to heighten tension at the LoC is to divert world's attention from the grave human rights violations it is carrying out against defenceless Kashmiris in IoK. India lies about infiltration from across the LoC from Pakistan side, which after the discovery of 2009 mass graves in IoK has proved to be a white lie. International People's Tribunal's report in its findings stated that those found in the mass graves were indigenous Kashmiris and linked them to those thousands who had disappeared and were killed by Indian occupation forces in fake encounters. There are detailed accounts by British authors in which it has been reflected that those who disappeared, their tortured bodies were found in rivers, wells and jungles. A few things are very evident. Indian posture is perilous for regional peace and beyond. India is trying to hide behind the blame game to deflect attention from its atrocities in IoK and it is definitely trying to use every opportunity to malign the indigenous freedom movement of Kashmiris in IoK, as an act of terrorism. India has failed in its design and world has rejected the Indian notion.


Question

According to Times of India's recent report, India has claimed that its forces conducted successful surgical strikes in Pakistan, wherein its soldiers entered Pakistan 48 hours in advance and conducted surveillance operations. Your comments please! (Mona Khan - Geo News)


Answer

Pakistan had rejected the Indian claim as a it was nothing but a fake propaganda by the Indian side. ISPR has already issued a statement in this regard, and have also taken the local and international media personnel to that area, where they saw no signs of what India falsely claimed as surgical strikes.


Question

When is the next meeting HOA is expected? (Sheeba Mahar - Daily SAMAA)


Answer

The Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia Process is likely to be held in Baku next month.


Question

You mentioned in your opening remarks about the fate of disappeared people in IoK, which along with human rights atrocities by Indian occupation forces have been effectively highlighted in various seminar across Pakistan. Will Pakistan also take up the issue of Indian genocide in IoK with the International War Tribunal, and will there be an emergency session on the situation IoK in this regard? (Asghar Ali Mubarak - Dail Mail Islamabad)


Answer

On the issue of Kashmir, Pakistan's stance is very clear. Kashmiris should be given the right to self-determination, as promised to them under the relevant UNSC Resolutions, and the implementation of which is to be through a free and fair plebiscite under UN supervision. We have, on numerous occasions raised the issue of forced disappearances and crimes against humanity carried out by Indian security forces with absolute immunity in IoK. We have said repeatedly that it is crime against humanity and perpetual genocide by India in IoK.


Question

A few months ago Indian Prime Minister claimed that they will isolate Pakistan. But Pakistan Navy is holding peace exercises in which, including Russia, 36 countries are participating. How do you see his claim and what is the importance of these peace exercises? (Bashir Chaudhary - 24 News)


Answer

These exercises are regularly held and as you mentioned, a number of countries are participating in it, including Russia. You are also aware of the events, which are happening in this part of the world, and how Pakistan is interacting with the International Community. You have also seen the outcome of many high level visits from and to Pakistan. With reference to the statement of the Indian Prime Minister, you can judge that they have miserably failed to isolate Pakistan. In the process, India itself stood exposed and may be feeling isolated. We have a number of events and incidents to quote where they tried to isolate Pakistan, but could not succeed. I am not going into the details. I think it is very unfortunate on the part of India that instead of responding to the positive gestures, which Pakistan has been showing to resolve the issues peacefully and amicably, India has adopted a hostile posture, which is detrimental to the regional peace and stability.


Question

Pakistan and Russia signed Defence Agreement in Nov. 2015. What is the status of the agreement and prospects of Defence Cooperation? Is Russia ready to give 5th generation SU-35, aircraft to Pakistan?

Secondly, what made the British authorities to use their Air Force against a passenger flight? Will Pakistan raise the issue with the British Government, the way they treated the passengers, the inconvenience and mental torture suffered by the passengers of that flight?

Lastly, people are contacting media houses about their loved ones missing in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This not the issue of the economic immigrants or people crossing border illegally but it is an issue of basic human rights. These people can also be used to malign our country. Are we going to make any mechanism that at least the families of these missing people can know where they are and what treatment they are getting? (Tariq Mahmood - SAMAA TV)


Answer

Defence Cooperation between the two countries is an important component in our multifarious bilateral relations, which is progressing well under the said agreement. Both sides are interested in enhancing cooperation in various areas of mutual interest. For further details on Defence Cooperation, you may contact M/o Defence.

As regard the PIA Flight, we have taken up this issue with the British authorities. I can tell you one thing that in case of matters, which we think cause inconvenience to our people or have impact on our national interest, we strongly take up the issues.

As regard the missing persons, are you referring to media reports or there are some specific cases? In this context, I can say that whenever any issue is brought to the attention of Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs or our Missions abroad, we have always taken immediate action. Not only that our mission gets in touch with the local authorities but we also remain in contact with the families. You can also share the details with me and I will refer those to the concerned quarters.


Question

According to media reports, Russian Energy Minister will pay a visit to Pakistan soon to discuss and sort out the difficulties with Pakistani officials in the implementation of North-South Gas Pipeline. Can you confirm these reports? (Khwaja Nayyer Iqbal - Kashmir Post)


Supplementary Question

What impediments is the project currently facing? Also, can you please give more details on the expected visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Pakistan? (Shahid Maitla - ARY News)


Answer

Russian Energy Minister is already in town. The ongoing visit of the Russian Minister is to discuss the technical aspects and other related details of the Pipeline project. The negotiations are progressing well. For further details, you may consult the M/o Petroleum & Natural Resources.

With regard to the visit of Russian President, I do not have information at this point in time.


Question

ECO Summit is taking place on the 1st March in Pakistan. How many Heads of Governments have confirmed their participation?

Secondly, US has slapped fresh sanctions on Iran. Will these sanctions impact bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran, especially in reference to Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline? (Shabbir Wahgara - PTV World News)


Answer

As regard the ECO Summit, it is going to be held according to the schedule. Most of the countries have already confirmed their participation at the leadership level. The preparations are in hand and Insha'Allah we will hold a very successful Summit. "Connectivity for Prosperity" is the theme of the Summit. More details will be shared in the coming days.

As regard to US sanctions on Iran, I would like to say that Pakistan has longstanding relations with the United States and we would like them to further strengthen them. Both sides constantly interact with each other to that end.

Iran is Pakistan's neighbor and a brotherly Muslim country with which we cooperate on various forums besides bilaterally. Our relations are longstanding, cordial and diverse. Under the Prime Minister's vision of 'peaceful neighbourhood and shared economic prosperity' we remain committed to consolidating our relations with all the regional countries including Iran.


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