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Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 09 November 2017

(2017-11-09) Opening Remarks

Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum

On Iqbal Day today, the whole nation remembers our National poet Allama Mohammad Iqbal, and his message of hope, strength and optimism against all odds.

The shahadat of Mr. Nayyar Iqbal Rana, our diplomatic official in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, has come as a shock, and left us all deeply saddened. Pakistan condemns this heinous attack and demands that the perpetrators of this act of violence be apprehended and brought to justice. On behalf of the people of Pakistan, the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister conveyed their deepest sympathies to the bereaved family. The President and NSA of Afghanistan have also called the Prime Minister and NSA of Pakistan to convey their condolences and to assure that the terrorist incident would be duly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. They have also conveyed that the Government of Afghanistan would ensure the safety and security of all Pakistani nationals and diplomatic staff stationed in Afghanistan. A dua was held today in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the shaheed where his family was also present.

On the Foreign Policy front, this week saw many incoming visits. The Chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs of the Russian Federation, Mr. Leonid Eduardovich Slutsky called on the Foreign Minister. Both exchanged views on enhancing bilateral cooperation in political, economic and parliamentary spheres.

A 4-member delegation of the European Parliament, led by MEP Mr. Peter Van Dalen from the Netherlands also called on the Foreign Minister. Acknowledging Pakistan's contribution towards establishing peace and security in the region, the MEPs expressed their keen desire to work closely with Pakistan for the mutual benefit of the two sides.

The UK Minister of State for Asia and Pacific Mr. Mark Field also called on the Foreign Minister who welcomed the visiting Minister of State and expressed satisfaction at the positive trajectory of bilateral relations and level of cooperation between the two countries.

The Foreign Secretary led the 4th Session of Pakistan-EU Political Dialogue, held in Islamabad yesterday. The the EU side was headed by Jean-Christophe Belliard, the Deputy Secretary General, European External Action Service. The two sides carried out in-depth review of the current status of Pakistan-EU relations and discussed ways and means to upgrade the existing level of cooperation. The EU delegation underscored the importance of EUs relations with Pakistan and the desire to further strengthen the relationship.

In Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, Indian occupation forces martyred 7 Kashmiri youth in the past week, including Moazzum Din Chara and Wasim Ahmad in Pampore, Pulwama, Uri and Kupwara areas, and fatally injured over two dozen defenseless Kashmiris through use of brute force, bullets, teargas shells and pellets on peaceful protesters. The Illegal house arrest and detention of Syed Ali Gilani, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Massrat Alam Bhat, Aasiya Andrabi and Fehmeeda Sofi continued under the draconian Public Safety Act.

On November 6, Kashmiris observed Jammu Martyrs’ Day to reaffirm their resolve to continue the struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination. The day is observed in remembrance of the first week of November in 1947, when Maharaja Hari Singh’s forces, Indian Army and Hindu hooligans brutally killed hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris in different parts of Jammu region, while they were migrating to Pakistan.

We congratulate the two Kashmiri Human Rights Activists, Ms. Parveena Ahangar and Mr. Imroz Parvez, for being awarded the prestigious Rafto Prize 2017, for their decades-long tireless efforts and struggle against India’s gross human rights violations in IoK. The award ceremony was held in Bergen, Norway.

For the first time, the Rafto Prize 2017 was awarded to two Kashmiri human rights activists from the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Ms. Parveena Ahangar and Mr. Imroz Parvez, in a ceremony held in Bergen, Norway on Saturday, 4 November 2017. Ms. Parveena Ahangar founded the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, which supportsparents of missing and disappeared persons in the Indian occupied Kashmir. Mr. Imroz Parvez is a Kashmiri lawyer, civil rights activist, and founder of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society. The award was given in recognition of their decades-long struggle against abuses of human rights in the Indian occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir. Conferment of the prestigious Rafto Prize to Kashmiri activists has brought attention to the violations of human rights in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

Every year, the non-profit and non-partisan organization, Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, Norway, selects the most distinguished individuals in the fields of human rights and democracy from around the world for conferment of the prestigious Rafto Prize.

Now the Floor is open for Questions

Question

What concrete steps Foreign Office is taking to counter Indian propaganda of using foreign soil to display anti-Pakistan slogans that directly impinge on our territorial integrity? (Tariq Mahmood – SAMAA TV)

Answer

I believe you refer to the recent display of anti-Pakistan slogans on London cabs. We have already issued a comprehensive press release. The matter was raised by our High Commissioner in UK with the FCO and by the Foreign Secretary with the British ambassador in Islamabad. Subsequently, the Transport for London (Tfl) company promptly responded and ordered the removal of the same from the London cabs immediately, informed that it has initiated an inquiry in the matter and assured disciplinary action against the perpetrators.

We know the sinister hands behind such malicious campaigns and are confident that they will not succeed. We expect our friends to ensure that such activities which are against the UN Charter and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty are not permitted on their territory.

Question

What is the view of the Foreign Office of NATO’s recent decision to send more troops in Afghanistan? Secondly, Foreign Secretary has told us a few days ago that Afghanistan will share details of the investigations regarding the gruesome killing of Pakistani diplomatic official Mr. Nayyar Iqbal Rana with Pakistan. Have they shared any details so far? (Shahid Maitla – ARY News)

Supplementary Questions

Pakistan’s diplomatic staff in Afghanistan has been consistently under life threats for the past few months. After the kidnapping of two officials, now one official in Jalalabad is brutally killed. Has Pakistan forcefully taken up the matter of security of its diplomatic staff with Afghan authorities? What assurances have been given from the Afghan side? (Amjad Ali – PTV)

NATO Secretary General, apart from talking about troops surge in Afghanistan has once again accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists and terrorist safe havens in its territory, and has blamed Pakistani soil for being used to launch terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. This is the same rhetoric that is doing rounds post Trump’s South Asia and Afghanistan policy. Your comments please! (Faisal Raza Khan – 92 News)

Answer

Regarding the questions on Shaheed Nayyar Iqbal Rana, we have forcefully taken up the shahadat of Mr. Nayyar Iqbal Rana, our diplomatic official at our Consulate General in Jalalabad with the Government of Afghanistan. The Foreign Secretary summoned the Charge d’Affaires of Afghanistan as soon as the news was received.

We have:

Condemned the incident and have conveyed our grave concerns

Asked for a thorough investigation of this incident to bring the perpetrators to justice and expose the forces behind this heinous act.

Ensure protection and security of all Pakistanis and the diplomatic staff stationed in Afghanistan.



The Afghan side has expressed its grief over the incident and assured us of their full cooperation. It has also been agreed to keep Pakistan informed about the progress in the investigations. We have also requested Afghanistan that the security of our diplomatic staff and missions in Afghanistan be strengthened.

The President of Afghanistan has called the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The Afghan National Security Adviser has also called the NSA of Pakistan. The Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan has sent a message to the Foreign Secretary.

Investigations have been initiated by the Afghan authorities and it would be inappropriate to comment about the perpetrators at this juncture. Afghan side has assured us that they would keep us informed about developments on the issue and our Ambassador in Kabul and Consul General in Jalalabad, are in contact with Afghan authorities.

There are multiple actors active in Afghanistan and friendly relations between our two countries do not go well with certain elements. We are cognizant of such machinations and would not let such elements succeed in their nefarious intentions.

You are aware about the nexus between RAW and terrorist networks in Afghanistan including, TTP; JUA and other terrorist organizations. They have been involved in subversive activities inside Pakistan and also working against the national interest of Pakistan in Afghanistan.

On the question regarding NATO Secretary General’s statement Pakistan has made unmatched sacrifices, both in blood and treasure in fighting terrorism. No country has done more than Pakistan, or suffered more than Pakistan in combating the menace of terrorism.

We completely reject baseless allegations of bases in Pakistan. There are no organized bases of any terrorist organizations anywhere in the country. Such fallacious assertions are counter-productive and detrimental. More than 45 % of the Afghan territory is ungoverned and uncontrolled. Taliban operate from these areas affecting not only Afghanistan but Pakistan. It is in this area that NATO should focus to ensure end to violence and terrorism in the region.

On the issue of troops surge in Afghanistan, we have previously made many statements on this issue. Pakistan believes that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict, and a political solution is imperative for lasting peace and stability. It is very important for Afghanistan to be at peace with itself and its neighbours.

Question

US media has reported of its administration’s desire to work out a diplomatic solution of the Rohingya crisis without ruling out sanctions on Myanmar government. We have yet to see such a straight forward verdict on Indian brutalities in IoK! Your comments please. (Shabbir Waghra – PTV World News)

Answer

Pakistan has always raised its voice for protecting the rights of Muslims, be it in Kashmir, Palestine or any other part of the world.

We are extremely concerned at the deplorable plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar who are facing systematic and endemic discrimination. Moreover, it is also a humanitarian issue.

The Jammu & Kashmir dispute is one of the oldest pending disputes. Pakistan has consistently stressed the need for its expedited resolution not only for India and Pakistan but peace and tranquility of the whole region. We have repeatedly raised this issue with the US officials at all levels. Pakistan has also shared dossiers of systematic human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir with US side. We will continue to sensitize the US and the international community on massive human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Various international human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued reports highlighting and exposing India’s atrocious human rights violation in IoK.

Question

Was the recent visit of Army Chief to Iran planned, and is it in line with Pakistan’s efforts to act as a mediator between warring Middle Eastern countries? Were any agreements signed during the visit, and what is the update on IP gas pipeline project? (Saima Shabbir – Bol News)

Supplementary Question

It is reported that miscreants from Pakistan crossed the Iranian border in an effort to attack certain check posts along the neighbouring country and then come back. Pakistani officials have told us that they are able to cross the Iranian border because of a certain agreement between the two countries. Is it so? (Yasir Baloch – Daily Rahbar Balochistan)

Answer

Regarding your first question, in recent years, bilateral exchanges with Iran at high level and at all other levels have increased considerably. Both the sides are committed to further strengthen our bilateral ties.

In the interest of peace and stability in the region, Pakistan has continued to make efforts for unity among the Muslim countries.

This visit led to useful discussions on strengthening cooperation between the Pakistan and Iran.

On IP-Gas Pipeline project, it is important for both the countries and the two sides are engaged on the same. I suggest that you contact the concerned Ministry for update on IP Gas Pipeline project.

On your second question, there is no such agreement of this kind. I will get back to you with details.

Question

At the conclusion of recent FATF meeting in Argentina, Indian media once again created an uncalled for brouhaha by misreporting that Pakistan had come under fire, although FATF’s official website tells another story. Please comment in the light of Pakistan’s efforts in Counter terrorism operations!

Secondly, India is planning to build a new airbase in Gujrat near Pakistani border, to fight a ‘short and swift war’ against Pakistan. How do you see this provocative development by India to increase the state of military preparedness?

Thirdly, millions of Pakistanis are currently employed in Saudi Arabia, and almost 80% of Pakistan’s remittances come from there. Pakistan has sizeable troops presence in Saudi Arabia as well as several bilateral agreements related to defence cooperation. How does Pakistan view the recent developments in Saudi Arabia? (Shaukat Paracha – Aaj TV)

Answer

On your last question, we do not comment on the internal affairs of any country.

On FATF, the Ministry had issued a press release on this subject on 6th November. You may kindly refer to that. Taking this opportunity, I would like to state the fact that the Indian media has quoted MEA officials as the source for their reports, which indicates that Indian officials are feeding wrong information to their media. It is also unfortunate that certain countries are using such purely technical forums for political ends and trying to divulge confidential information.

Regarding your question on new Indian military airbase, statements by the Indian military leadership have confirmed the existence of the Cold Start doctrine, which only validates what Pakistan has known all along regarding India’s aggressive designs. Military doctrines, such as Cold Start and Pro-Active Strategy, envision limited war below the nuclear threshold. The report about Gujrat provides credibility to the fact that India is fast developing the infrastructure and force configurations to operationalize these military doctrines. Subscribing to such offensive doctrines in a nuclearized region exposes irresponsible behaviour.

It will better serve the interests of both the countries to engage in a meaningful dialogue aimed at agreeing on measures of restraint and military doctrines which are defensive in nature rather than seeking to create space for war. India should respond positively to Pakistan’s proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime that can serve as the basis for enduring peace and stability in the region.

Let me also assure you that our armed forces are fully prepared to defend Pakistan against any threat.

Question

Addressing the fourth meeting of the Pak-US Track II Dialogue, US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale has asked Pakistan for a ‘decisive action’ against all terrorist groups allegedly operating from its soil. Your comments please. (Essa Naqvi – Dunya News)

Answer

In line with our own national resolve to rid the country of terrorism, Pakistan has undertaken comprehensive and successful CT operations in the last four years. The results of operations Zarb-e-Azb and Khyber IV are before every one to see which cleared North Waziristan and Khyber agencies of terrorist networks of all shades and denominations. Operation Raddul Fasad is an ongoing effort to eliminate terrorists, anywhere in the country. Extremist ideology has permeated societies all over the world and requires efforts at the international scale. We expect that the US and Afghanistan may address Pakistan’s concerns of expanding ungoverned spaces inside Afghanistan and the sanctuaries, that are being used to launch terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.

Question

What is Pakistan’s position on South Korea’s decision to limit installation of THAAD system in its territory, allaying Chinese fears? (Saad Umar – Roze News)

Answer

We welcome any move that can reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula. Pakistan maintains that concerned parties should pursue all avenues to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the region. Any step towards achieving this objective by any party would be acknowledged.

Question

Is there any update on the whereabouts of Lt. Colonel Habib Zahir, and did we get any response from Indian Government in this regard? (Mona Khan – Geo News)

Answer

Yes, we have contacted both Indian and Nepali authorities in this regard. I will check whether there is any update on that and will get back to you.

Question

There are reports that Daesh has claimed the responsibility of killing of Nayyar Iqbal Rana. Do you think that RAW or any other terrorist organization is behind the killing? (Naveed Saddique – Dawn News)

Answer

I have already responded to this question.