Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 02 February 2017

Opening Remarks

Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum

There had been queries during last briefings regarding ECO Summit. I wish to inform you that Pakistan is hosting 13th ECO Summit on 1st March. The Summit meeting will be preceded by the Meetings of the Senior Officials and Council of Foreign Ministers. ECO, which comprises 10 Members, has its roots in RCD.

During the last 8 days, 40 Kashmiris have been injured in IOK. 6 are in critical condition. 14 have been arrested arbitrarily with some under the lawless law, public safety act (PSA). Indian occupation forces have used pellets and PAVA, inflicting serious injuries.

I have highlighted during my last briefings about the Indian drive of changing demography in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir through settlement of non-Kashmiris, which is a blatant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir dispute. The domicile certificates are being issued by the IOK authorities on the instructions from the BJP Government at the centre. The drive is to convert Muslim majority in Jammu & Kashmir into a minority. Domicile is one of the measures to change the demography. Other measures being perpetual ethnic cleansing; killings in fake encounters; arrests and disappearances; and terrorizing of Kashmiris to force them to flee the occupied territories. Kashmiris have been protesting against the Indian sinister designs. Pakistan expresses solidarity with Kashmiris. Government of Pakistan calls upon the UN, members of UN Security Council, and international community for immediate action to stop Indian drive to alter the demography and to take remedial measures to undo the violations already taken place.

3 days from now, Solidarity Day with Kashmiris will be observed. The occasion is observed by organizing activities throughout the country and by Pakistan Missions and Diasporas of Kashmiris and Pakistanis abroad.

Now the Floor is open for Questions

Question

What is the status of the case of three teenage boys who had inadvertently crossed international border at Narowal in July 2016 and arrested by BSF? What is the latest update on it and what steps Foreign Office has taken for their early return? (Fayyaz Raja – 92 News)

Answer

You are referring to three boys Babar Ali, Shahzad Latif, and Ali Raza, who crossed the border inadvertently. Our High Commission in New Delhi has repeatedly approached the Indian government for the repatriation of these individuals. The response from the Indian side is awaited.

Question

A group of former Indian officials dealing with Pakistan and Kashmir have expressed serious concern over the intrusions and assault against civilians in Indian occupied Kashmir. Voices for the rights of Kashmiri people are rising even in India. Your comments please!

Secondly, according to media report, Kuwait has banned visas for Pakistani citizens. Do you have any information? (Shahid Maitla – ARY NEWS)

Answer

As to your first question, after the genocide of over half a million Kashmiris in Nov. 1947 by the Indian occupation forces in IOK, India has been committing perpetual genocide of Kashmiris. Since 1989, over 100,000 Kashmiris have been martyred, tens of thousands arrested have vanished into thin air without a trace till to date, tens of thousands have been maimed, and dishonouring of Kashmiri women has been used as a tool to suppress Kashmiri movement for self-determination. The gross human rights violations committed by Indian occupation forces since July 2016 have resulted in the deaths of more than 150 innocent civilians and injuries to more than 20,000. Indiscriminate use of pellet guns has blinded a thousand completely, including women and young children.

The people of IoK have been denied their fundamental human rights including the right to life, health, education, housing, freedom of expression and right to self determination since the last 70 years. Increasingly, sane voices in India are also accepting that Indian state terrorism is not an acceptable solution.

The J&K dispute is a reality which cannot be wished away. We call upon the international community to urge India to stop the bloodshed in IoK immediately and ensure resolution of the J&K dispute in line with the relevant UNSC resolutions.

Question

Muslims around the world are facing numerous problems, in this regard whether the role of OIC is satisfactory or it needs some improvements. Your comments please! (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal – Kashmir Post)

Answer

OIC being the biggest representative organization of the Muslim Ummah, is playing a very important role for safeguarding the interests of the Ummah worldwide. Particularly in the context of Kashmir, I would invite your attention to the declaration of 13th OIC Summit in Istanbul in April last year, which carried a strong reference on Kashmir. OIC countries not only condemned India for the atrocities committed by the occupation forces but also called for an independent inquiry into the grave human rights violations in IOK. The declaration also rejected Indian propaganda of projecting indigenous movement of self-determination in IOK as an act of terrorism. There is a special OIC Contact Group on Kashmir, which during last year’s OIC Summit in Istanbul also made a strong reference to resolving the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. In its Ministerial Conference last year in Tashkent at the 43rd Session of ICFM, OIC took an even stronger stance on the issue of Kashmir and urged India to immediately bring to halt its bloodshed and genocide in IoK. In this regard OIC is playing a key role in raising awareness about key issues facing the Muslim Ummah. All member states of OIC are making genuine efforts towards this end. Pakistan believes in the unity and solidarity of Muslim Ummah.

All Resolutions of OIC in the context of Kashmir and other important issues are listed on our website. In fact, I request you all to regularly visit MoFA’s website for important reference material on Kashmir and other issues.

Question

Your Indian Counterpart has been critical of Hafiz Saeed’s arrest and called for more action! Your comment, please! (Shaukat Paracha – Aaj TV)

Supplementary Question

India has always maligned Pakistan regarding the activities of Hafiz Saeed and has never shared any evidence in any of the episodes it has blamed Pakistan. India has committed terrorism in Pakistan? How do you see all this? (Abid Khursheed – ATV)

Answer

There is irrefutable evidence of Indian state actors’ involvement in perpetrating terrorist activities and terror financing in Pakistan. Indian state institutions have carried out terrorist attacks on Indian soil and blamed it on others. Confessions of Kulbhushan Yadav and leader of terrorist organization RSS, Swami Aseemanand, revelations made in Maharashtra’s Inspector General of Police, S.M. Mushrif’s book entitled ‘Who Killed Karkare’, British Authors Kathy Scott and Adrian Levy’s narration in their book ‘The Meadows’, and US Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel’s statement are testimonies of Indian state institutions’ deep involvement in carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan. India should take corrective actions for itself rather than commenting on other countries’ affairs.

Pakistan had taken all actions against the proscribed elements that were required under the UN sanctions. Pakistan’s action against terrorist elements without discrimination in the larger national interest as well as our sacrifices and losses have been repeatedly acknowledged and appreciated by all the countries. Our commitment to eradicate the scourge of terrorism from its roots is beyond doubt.

Question

Hussain Haqqani once again proved that he is there to damage Pakistan’s image. How do you see his action of tweeting a 5 years old news report pertaining to Kuwait’s visa restrictions? Ironically, the government that appointed him as Ambassador was at the helm then. (Fakhar-ru-Rahman – Such TV)

Answer

It is highly regrettable and deplorable that a person who was honoured to represent Pakistan has been indulging in activities that would hurt Pakistan’s national interests. Unfortunately, he is doing all this at a time when the world is increasingly acknowledging Pakistan’s growing economic potential in the wake of tremendous improvement in the security situation, investor friendly policies and strengthening of democratic institutions. The more Mr. Haqqani does such malicious and unethical acts, more he exposes his character. He has not only lost respect among Pakistanis but also among those who attach importance to values.

Question

Modi government is always blaming Pakistan and is also trying to sabotage the indigenous movement of Kashmiris through these efforts. Now, India has taken the issue of Hafiz Saeed to the Trump administration and it seems that Pakistan is taking actions against him under some pressure. Your comments please! (Asghar Ali Mubarak – Dail Mail Islamabad)

Answer

I have partially replied to your question. What Pakistan has done is actually in line with the international obligation as well as the implementation of NAP.

Let me also remind you that India hides behind the bogey of terrorism while it carries out terrorist acts not only on its soil and blames it on others but also uses other countries’ soil to destabilize for terrorist activities especially against Pakistan. India also finances terrorist activities in our country. India tries to portray Kashmiri indigenous movement as an act of terrorism. No country in the world has subscribed to this notion. OIC, in its declaration adopted at the Istanbul Summit, out-rightly rejected India’s false claim of terrorism in Kashmir.

India is carrying out all these activities to, primarily, divert international attention from the atrocities it is committing in IoK, which has raised huge concerns among the international community. There have been debates in the Parliaments of many countries; civil society members from the UK, Europe, North America and the Nordic region are all raising their voice, and talking about India’s crimes against humanity in Indian occupied Kashmir. Many human rights organizations are carrying out activities to sensitize and create awareness amongst the world community, urging India to immediately halt bloodshed in IoK and early resolution of the Kashmir dispute

Question

According to the US declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents Indian PM Indira Gandhi planned attacking Azad Kashmir region, after India?s subversive role in the events of 1971 in East Pakistan. CIA documents also revealed that Indian Air Force (IAF) had also planned to attack Pakistan’s nuclear facilities in 1984, to destroy Pakistan’s strategic assets and breach territorial integrity. As a sovereign country, Pakistan should raise the issue with the UN. Your comments! (Tariq Mahmood – SAMAA TV)

Answer

Indian subversive activities to destabilize Pakistan since inception are an undeniable fact. Successive governments in India have maintained a hostile policy towards Pakistan and the main reason has been the Kashmir dispute. It remains Indian endeavour to divert international attention from J&K dispute and the grave human rights violations that India has been constantly committing in IOK. India constantly violates UNSC resolutions on Kashmir and avoids holding a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the UN for the realization of the right of self determination of the people of IoK. Resolution of the J&K dispute is essential for peace and stability in South Asia.

The issue of Indian activities to destabilize Pakistan has been raised with the UN as well as the major powers on appropriate occasions. We will continue to raise all such issues with international community that may warrant action.

Question

New UN Secretary General declared 2017 as the ‘year of peace’ with special attention on conflict resolution. Is Kashmir dispute also on his agenda? (Essa Naqvi – Dunya News)

Answer

Our Representative over there has briefed the United Nation Secretary General on the situation and the atrocities committed by Indian forces in IoK. The Jammu and Kashmir dispute is one of the oldest unresolved items on the agenda of the UN Security Council, awaiting implementation of UN Security Council resolutions. UN has an obligation to resolve the Kashmir dispute. We hope to see vigorous efforts by the UN and other members of the international community for the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions in the larger interest of peace and stability of the region and beyond.

Question

Our Minister said that Houbara Hunting is part of our foreign policy. I just want to know how many licenses have been issued for Habara hunting.

Secondly, any further information on the arrest of 16 people yesterday who were part of the entourage of the Emir-e-Qatar and they violated a FC check post. (Abdullah Farooqi ? BBC Urdu)

Answer

I don’t have the details on both the questions. As to second question, you may like to check with the Ministry of Interior.

Question

My question is in the context of upcoming ECO Summit. As you know, Mr. Donald Trump has put an immigration ban on seven Muslim countries, but Saudi Arabia has supported Mr. Trump?s decision. Do you think that the agenda of ECO Summit will be marred with conflicting and contradictory interests of the Muslim countries? (Hamid Raza Kazmi ? Asas Group of Publications)

Answer

I am not aware of the agenda of ECO Summit at the moment.

Question

After US President Donald Trump ordered no-visa policy for seven Muslim countries, a White House official hinted that the ban could be extended to other countries including Pakistan. Your comment please! (Ali Husnain ? Business Recorder)

Supplementary Question

What is Pakistan’s official stance on Mr. Trump’s ban on seven countries, and what are Pakistan?s apprehensions in case it is also included in the list of banned countries? (Ali Husnain ? Business Recorder)

Can you please explain if US has given any reassurance to Pakistan that its name will not be included in the list of banned countries? (Anwer Abbas ? Waqt News)

Answer

Pakistan and the US have longstanding and cooperative relations in diverse fields and we look forward to further strengthen these ties. It is every country?s sovereign right to decide its immigration policy. However, such decisions are not without humanitarian and political dimensions that need to be looked at and considered in going forward. Countries would be well advised to adopt policies that are not susceptible to be exploited as propaganda tools by entities wishing to see cracks in the coalition against extremism and terrorism along religious lines.

Question

RSS has remained involved in the genocide of Kashmiris in IOK, terrorist attacks in India and the terrorizing of religious minorities in India. CIA has also reflected that RSS is a militant, anti-Muslim cultural organization, dedicated to the revival of Hindu way of life. Your comments please! (Amjad Ali ? PTV News)

Answer

I have on many occasions commented on the issue of involvement of RSS in terrorism and genocide of Kashmiris. There are historical accounts of RSS involvement in ethnic cleansing in IOK. You may recall numerous incidents of terrorizing of religious minorities by the Hindu extremist and terrorists since 2014 and earlier. I have stated many times earlier about the terrorist activities carried out by Hindu terrorist organization RSS.

Question

Yesterday, India, in its annual budget, has once again increased its defence spending phenomenally which will most likely be used in the acquisition of more weapons, leading to an arms race in South Asia. What is Pakistan?s stance on this issue? (Naveed Akbar ? Dunya Newspaper)

Answer

Maintenance of peace and stability in South Asia is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s policy. We are opposed to nuclear or conventional arms race in the region. Pakistan’s nuclear capability is solely for self-defense and we are committed to credible minimum deterrence.

India’s massive arms-buying spree and the consequent conventional asymmetry continue to be a threat to regional peace and stability. Pakistan does not want to indulge in any arms race and remains committed to pursuing arms control and restraint measures. We believe that the region’s scarce resources should be devoted to the socioeconomic uplift of its people.

Question

Recently, a Pakistani soldier was killed on Pak-Afghan border by insurgents entering Pakistan from Afghanistan. What efforts are you undertaking to beef up border security on the Pak-Afghan border? (Saad Umar ? Roze News)

Answer

Pakistan’s policy on Afghanistan is principled and very clear. We want peace and stability in Afghanistan, which is very important for peace and stability in Pakistan as well as the region. Pakistan has taken measures to check terrorists crossing over from Afghanistan. We are all aware that the terrorist elements enter Pakistan from Afghanistan through the porous border and we are also aware of those behind those terrorist elements, which we previously also highlighted. Pakistan has taken stringent measures to control this movement. We have always insisted on effective border management and have instituted border control mechanisms to this effect. Cooperation from Afghanistan is in mutual interest. All of my previous replies in this regard are already available on the website for further reference.

Question

Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Omer Zakhilwal said that Afghan government is open to unconditional peace negotiations with Taliban. Will these talks be held through Pakistan, as we have heard through media reports that Taliban are opening its office in Islamabad soon? (Rabia Pir ? VOA/Deewa Radio)

Answer

On the second part of your question, I would not comment on media reports.

To the first part, Pakistan has always been steadfast in its pursuit for strengthening relations with Afghanistan. Our restraint and patience even in the face of negative statements that emanated from Afghanistan is a manifestation of our policy. We believe peace in Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan and the region. In fact, no other country in the world has suffered more than Pakistan because of instability in Afghanistan. We also believe that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and serious efforts should continue for a politically negotiated settlement. In this regard, we support intra-Afghan process of talks between Afghan Government and the warring factions under an Afghan-owned Afghan-led process. Pakistan has been making serious efforts for bringing Taliban to the table for talks with the Afghan government.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government of Pakistan