Latest Press Releases/Speeches

Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 03 August 2017

(2017-08-03) Opening Remarks


Bismillah Ir-Rehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum Distinguished friend, ladies & gentlemen!

We are deeply saddened by the loss of precious human lives due to recent terrorist attacks in brotherly neighbour Afghanistan. We condemn these terrorist attacks, sympathize with the victims' families and pray for early recovery of those who sustained injuries.

The US Acting Under Secretary of State and SRAP, Ms. Alice Wells, is on a bilateral visit to Pakistan. The US delegation called on the Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and the entire gamut of bilateral relations and regional issues, including the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan were reviewed.

The human rights situation in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir has been worsening by every passing day due to ever-increasing atrocities by the Indian forces with impunity. Indian occupation forces martyred 8 Kashmiris in last 06 days [Shariq Ahmed Sheikh (25), Shabbir Ahmad Mir (24), Ghulam Mohammad Shah (55), Firdous Ahmad Khan, (30), Arif Nabi Dar (24) and 22-year old Akeel Ahmad Butt] in Pulwama, Kupwara and Baramulla districts.

Over 110 people mostly young boys including over 70 with pellet gunshots and bullets were injured after Indian forces used excessive brute force, bullets, pellets and teargas shells on defenseless Kashmiris during peaceful protests in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir. Government of Pakistan strongly condemns these killings by India and use of brute force against peaceful Kashmiri protestors in IoK.

In its malicious tactics, India continues to harass Kashmiri leaders in its desperation to portray Kashmiri indigenous movement for self-determination as terrorism. The world has rejected Indian attempts. We condemn continued unlawful confinement of Hurriyat Leaders, Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Shabbir Ahmad Shah and the prolonged illegal detention under black Law Public Safety Act of Massrat Alam Bhat, Aasiya Andrabi, Fehmeeda Sofi and other hundreds of Hurriyet leaders, activists and students. Kashmiris have been denied their right to offer Juma Prayers for 6th consecutive Friday. Int'l Community, particularly the UN must respond to the horrendous realities on ground in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir. The Government & the people of Pakistan remain committed to extend moral, diplomatic and political support to our oppressed brothers and sisters in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir in their just struggle against Indian illegal occupation.

Now the Floor is open for Questions


Question

IS strength is growing in Afghanistan as evident from the increasing number of terrorist attacks they are claiming. How concerned is Pakistan over the spillover impact? How Pakistan intends to deal with the menace? (Shabbir Waghra - PTV World)


Supplementary Question

The series of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan recently can be seen from two counts: ethnic and religious. Pakistan has also suffered on these counts and understands well the psyche behind these attacks. Why has Pakistan not taken up this matter with Afghanistan forcefully that a particular mindset is behind these attacks, and that Afghanistan should not blame every attack on Pakistan? (Mohsin Raza - Asas Group of Publications)


Answer

Responding to the second question first, Pakistan, in the strongest terms, condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whether in Pakistan or anywhere else in the world. We firmly believe that terrorist acts taking away precious lives of innocent civilians are highly condemnable, wherever it takes place.

You touched upon the aspect of rhetoric that is aimed at maligning Pakistan. I have responded previously also that Pakistan is desirous of peace and stability in Afghanistan. We have highest stakes in peace and stability in Afghanistan. Whatever happens in Afghanistan has a direct bearing on Pakistan. We have always endeavored, and participated in all initiatives aimed at bringing peace to Afghanistan. No one should have any doubt about that. Cross border terrorism has also been a matter of concern for both sides. That is why we are engaged in efforts involving effective border management.

Responding to Mr. Shabbir Waghra's question, we are concerned about the growing activity and presence of Daesh in Afghanistan. Daesh appeared to have gained foothold in large swaths of ungoverned territories in that country. Regional countries are concerned over the situation in Afghanistan, which has been expressed during a number of meetings on Afghanistan under various initiatives. We will take all necessary measures to mitigate the threat emanating from the presence of Deash close to our borders on the Afghan side and to avoid any spillover to our territory.

Effective border controls and border management are imperative to curb cross-border movement of terrorists, drug and human smugglers. Pakistan stresses on effective border management. In this regard, we have undertaken various measures that include plugging of gaps, infrastructure development of crossing points and other measures. Our efforts for border management are aimed at facilitating movement of people, trade and transit and curb the movement of undesired elements.


Question

As you mentioned in your opening statement, that Ambassador Alice Wells is on an official visit to Pakistan. Did Pakistan take up the matter of suspending military aid with US? Is there any other scheduled meeting of the visiting dignitary with Pakistani leadership? (Rabia Pir - VOA)


Supplementary Question

It is said that US is changing its policy towards Afghanistan and this region. State Department has recently issued its Country Report on Terrorism, in which it has alleged that Pakistan has safe havens. Moreover, Senator John McCain was quoted to have said something bad about Pakistan during his visit to Afghanistan, although he had praised Pakistan's efforts in its fight against terrorism during meetings with Pakistani officials. Will Pakistan protest about these negative statements with the US? (Tariq Sial - Such TV)

You already mentioned that talks between Pakistani side and the visiting US delegation are underway. My question has two components. First, whether we have taken up the matter of strong presence of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Haqqani Network in Afghanistan with the US, as is evident from recent series of killings of their senior leadership on Afghan soil.

Secondly, have we taken up the matter of India's grave human rights violations in IoK with the US delegation? (Shaukat Paracha - Aaj TV)


Answer

Responding to Ms. Rabia Pir's question, the subject you mentioned is still under review in US, and it would be premature to talk about it now. As to your question about the schedule of Ambassador Alice Wells' meetings, I am not aware of that.

On Mr. Tariq Sial's question, you mentioned about a certain statement attributed to Senator John McCain while on his visit to Afghanistan. I have said it twice before that what was attributed to him was never said. I did not see the statement being quoted in any of the Foreign Newspapers apart from one or two Pakistani Dailies. Therefore, I will not give credence to any such statement. If you look at US Media, (New York Times, Washington Post, Voice of America etc.) they also did not carry the news story that you referred to.

I believe that Senator John McCain has appreciated Pakistan's successful efforts in fighting back the terrorists on not just one occasion but many times. Not just him, but various levels of US leadership have acknowledged Pakistan's sacrifices and successes in eradicating the menace of terrorism. There is a long list of countries, which hold similar views on Pakistan. Many of them have visited the areas where Pakistan carried out counter-terrorism operations, and noted the success achieved.

As to Mr. Shaukat Paracha's question, Ambassador Alice Wells has recently assumed charge as Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs and Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Her visit is taking place in the backdrop of US policy review on Afghanistan in regional perspective. We consider it an important visit, which provides us an opportunity to discuss bilateral relation and share our perspectives on Afghanistan and the broader issues related to the region. All issues were discussed including the outstanding issue of Jammu & Kashmir, as well as comprehensive discussions in the context of situation in Afghanistan. We forcefully took up the matter of Indian atrocities and grave human rights violations committed by Indian occupation forces on defenceless Kashmiris in IoK.


Question

Speaking at the India-US forum, Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj again linked Pakistan to terrorism. India leaves no opportunity to malign Pakistan, how will you respond? (Khawaja Nayaar Iqbal - Kashmir Post)


Answer

Pakistan has suffered the most because of terrorism, both in terms of unmatched human and economic losses. Indian state involvement in terrorism and terror financing in Pakistan is an undeniable and established fact. Indian baseless accusations against Pakistan are ironic and an attempt to hide its own hand in terrorism. There is a need for India to introspect on its own state sponsored terrorism in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir and the belligerent attitude it has adopted towards its smaller neighbors as a matter of policy. Indian officials gloat about creating terror in Pakistan. Blame game and finger pointing exacerbate the situation and achieve no positive end.


Question

There are reports that India-Pakistan back channel diplomacy was held in Dubai last week, where participants from both countries desired on the early resumption of bilateral dialogue. Can you confirm this track-II diplomacy?

Secondly, Pakistani High Commissioner Mr. Abdul Basit has recently resigned from the Ministry. What are the reasons for his premature retirement and who will replace him? (Naveed Saddique - Dawn News)


Answer

As I have earlier mentioned, these are administrative matters and I don't have much to comment. Moreover, Ambassador Basit has already given his reasons for early retirement, which are personal. He will be replaced by Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, our Ambassador presently serving in Turkey.

As to question regarding details of Track-II diplomacy, there are a number of civil society organizations that conduct these kind of interactions occasionally. These organizations bring participants from different walks of life to discuss Pak-India relations and contentious issues.

Question


In the wake of formulating US policy on Afghanistan, there are reports that US is also considering the option of withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. In your view, how will it impact on the prospects of peace in Afghanistan? (Saima Shabbir - Bol News)


Answer

As I have mentioned before, the policy review of the US about Afghanistan and the region is ongoing. It is our firm belief that peace in Afghanistan is extremely important for the security of the entire region, more so, for the Afghans. It is important that all efforts should be geared towards a politically negotiated settlement under an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. Pakistan remains ready to extend full assistance to that end.


Question

Chinese Foreign Minister visited Pakistan and Afghanistan to renew efforts for the resumption of QCG process. Now that the Ambassador Alice Wells is in town, will this matter be taken up with the US delegation? Also, what is the update on Foreign Minister Wang Yi's efforts to resume QCG process? (Naveed Akbar - Daily Dunya)


Supplementary Question

Is US still a part of QCG? (Ali Husnain - Business Recorder)


Answer

Responding to Mr. Naveed Akbar's question, as you are aware QCG, which is Quadrilateral Coordination Group, has four members. Besides Afghanistan, there are three facilitators in the group, namely Pakistan, China and the US. Regarding the resumption of QCG, it was agreed between the leadership of Pakistan and Afghanistan in Astana a few months ago. Earlier on, Adviser Sartaj Aziz had met with Afghan NSA on the sidelines of CMAG in London and had agreed to cooperate in the context. China has been an active member of QCG and is playing a significant role in infrastructure development and bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. Its leadership has been visiting both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the recent visit of Foreign Minister Wang Yi was also in the same context. I have mentioned earlier in my briefing that the situation in Afghanistan was discussed comprehensively with the US delegation.

Regarding Mr. Ali Husnain's question, US is a member of QCG in addition to three others. As you are aware that QCG is about Afghanistan, and the US policy review on Afghanistan is ongoing.


Question

At its annual review session, UNHRC has called into question Pakistan's human rights record including the matter of forced disappearances. What steps has Pakistan taken to improve its human rights record? Is Pakistan the only country, which has accrued critical response from UNHRC? (Essa Naqvi - Dunya TV)


Answer

Pakistan is a party to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). As part of the implementation review process of this Covenant, Pakistan's initial implementation Report was reviewed on 11-12 July 2017 by the Human Rights Committee. The Committee appreciated ratification of ICCPR by Pakistan, and efforts of the Government to implement the Convention. Challenges faced in some areas were identified by the Committee for review and implementation. It was an open and constructive dialogue.

The Human Rights Committee examines the reports of all State Parties and conveys its conclusions and recommendations to them for further improvement of implementation of the Convention.

As a democratic state, Pakistan continues to make progress in the area of human rights. We have taken a series of legislative and policy measures, established various institutional mechanisms in this important field. Like anywhere else in the world, this is work in progress.

The ratification of the Convention and submission of the Report are reflective of Pakistan's commitment to ensure civil and political rights and fundamental freedoms that are enshrined in the Constitution. Pakistan's engagement demonstrates our openness and willingness to engage, share experiences and learn from best practices.


Question

What is the update on China-India stand-off at Sikkim border, following Indian NSA Ajit Doval's visit to China in the context of BRICS? (Tariq Mahmood - SAMAA TV)


Answer

We have noted Indian violations. We are concerned at the increasing Indian belligerence in the region, which is endangering regional peace and stability. Maintaining regional peace is the responsibility of all the countries. Pakistan has always desired peace and prosperity in the region. It is in the interest of all the countries of the region to work for regional peace and cooperation.


Question

Reportedly, India and Pakistan held talks on two hydro projects under the Indus Water Treaty at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington. Who represented Pakistan in this meeting and what is the outcome of the meeting? (Sheeba Mahar - Daily SAMAA)


Supplementary Question

Will the next round of talks between Pakistan and India on Indus Water Treaty be held in Washington in September? (Saima Shabbir - Bol News)


Answer

Secretary of Water and Power level talks were held between Pakistan and India in Washington DC on 31 July - 01 August to discuss Kishenganga and Ratle hydro power plants. The meeting was held at the World Bank headquarters under the auspices of the World Bank. Detailed discussions were held in a constructive manner. Discussions will continue in Washington DC next month.


Question

Pakistan and India will be completing the 70 years of independence in the coming days. Can you comment on how the relationship between the two countries has fared all along? (Shahid Rahman - Kyodo News)


Answer

In response to this question, I will briefly touch upon a few issues that have remained stumbling blocks in the normalization of Pakistan-India relations. This is no secret. All along the last 70 years, we have been engaged in long processes of structured dialogue, commonly known as Composite or Comprehensive Dialogue, which has currently been stalled due to India. Over the years, a number of contentious issues have been added. The most important issue, rather the main bone of contention, remains the unresolved issue of Jammu & Kashmir that Pakistan wants to resolve amicably through dialogue.

We have previously fought wars on Kashmir. The Jammu & Kashmir dispute is internationally recognized, remains active on UN agenda to date, and there are unimplemented UNSC Resolutions on the issue. Pakistan wishes to have a sustained, result oriented and well-meaning dialogue with India that addresses all issues, particularly the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir.

It has been observed that ever since the present BJP Government has assumed charge at the helm of affairs in India, the relationship has witnessed a downward trajectory. Particularly, the human rights situation in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir has been deteriorating. Every day, we see the atrocities and barbarism, taking place on the streets of IoK by Indian occupation forces with complete impunity. It is a matter of grave concern to Pakistan. We want India to immediately halt bloodshed of defenceless Kashmiris in IoK, and urge the international community to force India to stop atrocities there and call India to account. Pakistan and India are neighbouring countries with a long border. India needs to understand that only through cooperation between the two countries will the good for the people of the region be achieved. For this to happen, we need to resolve all contentious issues, particularly the issue of Jammu & Kashmir. India has not been positive in this regard.

India's attitude to stall the SAARC process is also well known. SAARC is purely aimed at the economic development of the people of this region. I will not go into the details of how India scuttled this process. SAARC will be held at an appropriate time in Pakistan.


Question

A petition has been filed in the Indian Supreme Court to abolish Article 35-A, which aims to settle the Indian citizens in Indian occupied Kashmir. As this is an Internationally recognized disputed territory and is in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions, will Pakistan take up this issue at the UN Security Council? (Umar Bilal - Capital TV)


Answer

What you are referring to is part of India's nefarious attempts to bring about demographic change in Indian occupied Kashmir. In this context, former Adviser Sartaj Aziz has written a detailed letter to the UN Secretary General, and apprised other countries, with reference to permanent and material changes instituted by India in IoK. I will add that what India is doing is a violation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir, because these resolutions do not allow material change to be brought about in Jammu & Kashmir.


Question

We have heard news reports that General Retd. Raheel Sharif was stopped from travelling to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia recently. Can you confirm this report?

Secondly, we have also heard that Army was not in favour of sending him as head of Islamic Military Alliance, but he was sent anyway on the behest of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Please comment. (Raheel Hasan - Al-Manal TV)


Answer

I do not comment on media reports.


Question

Reportedly, former Chief Minister of Indian occupied Kashmir, Omar Abdullah has said that Pakistan is not the creator of uprisings in Jammu and Kashmir and that it was popular to blame Pakistan for everything in the valley. Don't you think that it vindicates Pakistan's position that Kashmir uprising is an indigenous movement for self-determination? (Amjad Ali - PTV News)


Answer

Pakistan has always maintained that the uprising in IoK against Indian illegal occupation is an indigenous movement, mainly of unarmed Kashmiri youth, who are not afraid of confronting over 700,000 fully equipped soldiers. India kills Kashmiris of IoK in fake encounters by telling lies about them that they were infiltrators. Discovery of over 6,000 unnamed and unmarked mass graves in 2009 has exposed the Indian lie. All in those mass graves were local Kashmiris of IoK, whom India labeled as infiltrators and killed them in fake encounters. Maachil fake encounter in 2010 is just one of many thousands of staged encounters. The lie about infiltration is also aimed at maligning Pakistan as well as to distract the Int'l Community from grave human rights violations Indian forces are committing in IoK.