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Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 08 June 2017

(2017-06-08) [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

During last one week, 09 defenceless Kashmiris, including a 12th class student Adil Farooq Magray in Shopian, a post graduate student Ajaz Ahmad Mir, and Basharat Ahmad Sheikh (19) have been martyred, reportedly, around 40 were arrested and equal number of people were injured including half dozen with pellets at the hands of Indian occupation forces in the occupied Kashmir. We strongly condemn Indian blatant killings and human rights violations in IoK. On the call of Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, Kashmiris will be observing peaceful protests across the Kashmir Valley tomorrow against the brutal killing of Kashmiri students.

Students of Islamic University of Science & Technology, Awantipora, were subjected to brute force by the troops when they raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans and marched on Srinagar-Jammu highway.

Unable to face the determined Hurriyat Leadership and indigenous movement for self-determination of Kashmiri youth in IoK, India and unlawful authorities in IoK have launched dirty tactics, including raids, media blockade, arbitrary arrests and killing in fake encounters, harassment of Kashmiri leadership and propaganda to discredit and defame the Hurriyet leadership.

Resolve of the defenceless Kashmiris in IoK could not be deterred despite deployment of largest military concentration in the world in IoK, who have unleashed reign of terror and torture for the past seven decades inflicting untold miseries upon Kashmiris.

Government of Pakistan calls upon the UNSC, Members of UN and Human Rights organizations across the globe to call India to account for the grave human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed by its occupation forces in Indian occupied Kashmir. We have strongly taken up the issue of grave human rights violations in IoK at the Council of Human Rights in Geneva at the 35th Session, yesterday. Pakistan's statement and right of reply have been circulated.

On foreign policy front, a significant milestone will be achieved during 17th SCO Summit in Astana on 8-9 June 2017 when Pakistan will become its full member. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in Astana for this historic occasion.

Now the Floor is open for Questions

Question

A 15 year old boy in India was arrested by Indian police for posting Pakistan Zindabad slogan on Facebook. Your comments please! (Sheeba Mahar - Daily SAMAA)

Answer

We have seen media reports in this regard. How can a slogan by 15 years old boy threaten India, which claims to be the largest democracy? This only goes to demonstrate the increasing lack of tolerance and rising extremism in India, which, as history would tell, appears to be a precursor of fascism. We worry about the rise of fascism in our region.

Question

Recently, Saudi Arabia and some other GCC countries have severed ties with Qatar. What is Pakistan's official position in this regard? What is the future of the Saudi led military coalition? (Bashir Chaudhry - Channel 24)

Supplementary Question

Could you give us more details on the seven member Qatari delegation, which arrived in Pakistan recently? (Saad Umar - Daily Roze)

The recent development of severing of ties with Qatar by certain GCC countries has created a very difficult situation. How will Pakistan deal with the situation between two Middle Eastern countries? If the US steps in and wants to mediate in this situation, what role will Pakistan play? (Abid Khursheed - ATV)

Answer

You all have similar questions, so I will respond collectively. Pakistan believes in unity among Muslim countries. We have made consistent efforts for its promotion. The situation, therefore, is a matter of concern.

Question

I have two questions. Firstly, India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said that Indian forces will not count bullets in attacking Pakistan. With rising escalation on LOC and not so positive outcome of DGMOs meeting, should we anticipate chances of military conflict?

Secondly, Pakistan and India will assume full membership of SCO today. Article 1 of the SCO Charter proclaims that its member states will have cooperation and not confrontation among themselves. With the inclusion of India, how does Pakistan wish to contribute towards SCO? (Shaukat Paracha - Aaj News)

Answer

Responding to your first question, the Indian occupation forces are continuously engaged in ceasefire violations on the LoC and the Working Boundary. The civilians in villages and populated areas are continuously being targeted by Indian occupation forces from across LoC. India has deliberately escalated tension at the LoC and the Working Boundary in order to divert international community's attention from the grave human rights situation in IoK. While we have no desire to escalate the situation, Pakistani armed forces would respond effectively to any unprovoked violations. We have always exercised restraint. The Indian belligerence is a threat to regional peace and security. We have cautioned India from making any strategic miscalculation. It appears that India is seeking conflict with Pakistan.

To your second question, Pakistan abides by SCO Charter and will fulfill its obligations as per the "Shanghai spirit". We believe that all countries have an important and positive role to play to establish peace in the region and resolve disputes through peaceful means. Pakistan fully supports every effort in this direction.

Question

I have three questions. First, reportedly, in Indian occupied Kashmir, having exhausted one after another tactics to suppress the ongoing Kashmir's freedom struggle, India has now launched National Investigation Agency (NIA) to intimidate and harass Hurriyat leaders and activists by conducting raids on their houses and putting them to question for hours. Your comments please!

Secondly, Reportedly, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has once again criticized Pakistan that it was waging an "undeclared war of aggression" against his country. Your comments please!

Thirdly, please comment on Pentagon's recent report on establishment of Chinese military base in Pakistan. (Tariq Mahmood - SAMAA TV)

Supplementary Question

My question pertains to Pentagon's recent report on China. From the report, can we infer that US is feeling threatened from growing China-Pakistan partnership, CPEC and Pakistan alignment towards China vis-a-vis Gwadar and conclusion of other military agreements? (Azam Khan - Geo News)

Answer

Responding to the last two questions first, we do not comment on media reports. You may also have seen Chinese Spokesperson's press briefing of yesterday, in which she has rejected such claims. What Mr. Azam Khan is referring to is speculative in nature.

On Mr. Tariq Mahmood's second question, President Ghani's address has been uploaded on You Tube in which he has not used the 'phrase' you have referred to. Afghanistan is in turmoil for the last 40 years, which has created space for terrorists and those promoting terrorism in our region, who do not have interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan. Their activities, especially of our neighbouring country, promoting state sponsored terrorism, are detrimental to not only Afghanistan but also to Pakistan. Situation in Afghanistan are a common challenge for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Therefore, besides measures pertaining to border management, both (Afghanistan and Pakistan) sides need to closely coordinate with each other in our mutual interest and beware of our detractors who are enemies of Pak-Afghan relations.

Responding to your first question, I have reflected on this aspect in my opening remarks. The entire might of the Indian state is being launched through their NIA against innocent and unprotected human rights defenders and Kashmiri leaders.

Question

Reportedly, India is involved in creating Afghan wing of ISIS to spoil the region. Indian NSA's secret contacts with ISIS are a reason behind bloodshed and terrorism in Afghanistan. Your comments please. (Amjad Ali - PTV News)

Answer

Pakistan has suffered from Indian state sponsored terrorism for over five decades. Today, India is playing a devious game in Afghanistan. India is using Afghan soil against Pakistan and also to sabotage Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. We have constantly raised our concern in this regard at all the related forums. Recent killing of 13 Indians among the dead in the mother of all bombs attack by the US points to this fact.

Question

United Nations Secretary General has expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Indian occupied Kashmir. It is a rare reference directly to the situation in IoK. How does Pakistan this development?

Secondly, Prime Minister is meeting with various Heads of Delegation at the SCO Summit in Astana. Is there any chance to meet Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the Summit?

Thirdly, some GCC member states have abandoned Qatar diplomatically. How does Pakistan see this development and what is our official position on this? (Shahid Maitla - ARY News)

Answer

On your third question, I have already responded.

Regarding your second question, we have not received any request from the Indian side for a meeting on the sidelines.

On your first question, the international community, including the UN, continues to show concern over grave human rights violations in IoK. Prominent human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also severely criticized Indian brutalities in IoK. The UN has a responsibility on both counts viz. resolution of Kashmir dispute, which is outstanding on the UNSC agenda and calling India to account for committing gross and systematic violation of human rights in IoK. The UN has to play its role in resolving the dispute through fulfilling its commitment of supervising a free and impartial plebiscite in Jammu & Kashmir and stop the bloodshed in IoK.

Question

Pakistan has participated in the international conference in Kabul aimed at finding a political solution to the lingering conflict in Afghanistan. How does Pakistan assess its outcome and prospects? (Saima Shabbir - Bol News)

Answer

We believe that a political settlement based on an Afghan owned and Afghan led peace process is the only solution to Afghan conflict. Afghan people have suffered a lot and so have we. We want to see peace in Afghanistan and it is our commitment to constructively participate in all such initiatives. Kabul Process is a positive step in this regard. We firmly believe that peace and stability in Afghanistan is in Pakistan's interest. No country is affected by an unstable Afghanistan more than Pakistan.

Question

As you know, Nuclear Supplier Group meeting is at the door step later this month. My question has two aspects, 1) whether Pakistan is considering to join MTCR and non-proliferation security initiative along with the Hague Code of Conduct, to have some sort of leveling field vis-a-vis India? 2) Whether Pakistan is going to relax its position on FMCT to have membership of 48 member NSG club? (Faisal Raza Khan - 92 News)

Answer

Pakistan's approach and position with regard to MTCR, PSI, HCoC and FMCT has been enunciate clearly. We remain engaged at the international level on these issues, keeping in view our interests as a responsible and confident nuclear state.

Question

As you mentioned earlier, Pakistan is looking at the situation in Gulf region with a serious amount of concern. I was interested to know about Pakistan's position regarding allegations against the State of Qatar for supporting terrorism. Secondly, whether any contact has been made with the Government of Saudi Arabia and UAE regarding severing of ties with Qatar? (Asad Hashim - Aljazeera English)

Answer

I have already given my response and don't have anything more to add.

Question

Reportedly, India has forwarded summons to 14 witnesses of Pakistani origin to Pakistan regarding the Samjhauta Express terrorist incident, to produce before the Indian court investigating the case. Please provide details in this regard. (Azam Khan - Geo News)

Answer

With specific reference to this particular aspect, I am not aware and will check with the concerned department. However, our views on the proceedings and investigations following Samjhauta Express terrorist attack have been amply expressed. In the aftermath Samjhauta Express terrorist attack of February 2007, in which mostly Pakistanis were killed, there was a pledge made at the highest political level by India that they would share the investigations. Unfortunately, no such thing ever materialized. On the contrary, we have noted with deep concern that over the years, Indian Government has employed systematic strategies to exonerate those who had confessed their involvement, and those who were identified in those confessional statements to be involved in Samjhauta Express terrorist attack.

Question

A high level delegation comprising our legal experts has arrived at the Hague yesterday, and there are reports that Pakistan has proposed names of experts to be appointed as Adhoc Judge on the ICJ panel and are seeking an early hearing of Kulbhushan Jhadav case. (Naveed Saddiqui - Dawn News)

Supplementary Question

Recently, we have seen another wave of blame-game from Afghanistan following recent deadly attacks in the country. It seems that there is a major trust deficit between Pakistan and Afghanistan. What steps is Foreign Office taking to bridge this trust deficit? (APP)

Answer

Regarding the blame game, similar question was asked and I responded, if you are referring to the statement attributed to President Ashraf Ghani. His address is available on You Tube. If you are referring to the blame game in the past, we have responded to it also comprehensively. Please visit our website for statements by Adviser Sartaj Aziz and my own press briefings in this regard.

Regarding your question about ICJ, today's meeting is about scheduling the next hearings. For matters related to the appointment of Adhoc Judge, or other details regarding the proceedings, please check with the Office of the Attorney General.