Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 08 September 2016

Opening Remarks

Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum dear friends!

62 days of continued atrocities by the Indian occupation forces in IOK, with impunity due to international apathy, remains a matter of anguish and deep concern. More than 90 innocent and helpless Kashmiri young men, women and children have been martyred so far while the killing continues. The number of eye victims due to use of pellet guns by the Indian occupation forces is now over 700 whereas those injured is around 10,000. These are alarming statistics, which the Prime Minister in his latest wake up call to the international community and proponents of human rights, has highlighted. The PM’s key message was ‘Silence over atrocities is equally wrong and unjustifiable.’

The efforts to highlight the plight of Kashmiris in IOK, which the PM has assigned to 22 Parliamentarians as his Special Envoys, has already started. Mr. Awais Leghari is in Geneva. Others shall be visiting as per schedule of their meetings in the countries of their visit. These efforts will continue vigorously.

Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Tariq Fatemi, is also visiting various capitals as PM’s Special Envoy to muster support for Pakistan’s application for NSG membership. It is a matter of pride that Pakistan has extensive experience on the establishment and functioning of an independent nuclear regulatory body and relevant legislative, regulatory and administrative framework on nuclear safety and security.

Mr. Fatemi is also availing the opportunity to apprise various segments of the society and the leadership on the grave human rights violations in IOK.

Pakistanis abroad continue to make Pakistan proud with their achievements. We congratulate Justice Abid Riaz Qureshi on his appointment as Judge by President Obama.

Our country has observed Defence Day with zeal and fervor and paid rich tribute to the valiant soldiers of our Armed Forces who defended our beloved country with ultimate sacrifices, which they continue to defend tirelessly and complete dedication. We salute them and are very proud of our Armed Forces.

Now the Floor is open for Questions

Question

Prime Minister Modi at the G20 summit, stated that “there is one single nation in South Asia spreading agents of terror” and we must “Isolate and sanction countries which support terror”. Will Pakistan’s respond? (Amjad Ali – PTV)

Answer

Yes! Indian intelligence agency RAW’s officer, Kulbhushan Yadav’s public confession makes a clear reference to that country in South Asia.

Question

India-US signing of agreement, LEMOA defines Indian diversion from its non aligned status. It will also tip the strategic balance in the region. Russia is drawing close to Turkey, other Muslim countries and China to counter these moves. How does Pakistan see these events to unfold in the future and with what strategic importance? (Fakhar-ur-Rahman – Turkish News Agency/Such TV)

Answer

Pakistan believes that the Memorandum of Agreement between India and United States is an agreement between two sovereign states. However, any such agreement must not disturb the balance of power in South Asia. Pakistan is carefully monitoring the evolving regional and global situation and would make course correction in its foreign policy as and when required.

Question

You have proudly mentioned in your opening remarks about an Independent Nuclear Regulatory Body and Pakistan’s extensive experience in the related legislation and administrative framework. What kind cooperation is possible between India and Pakistan in this area since India apparently lacks independent nuclear regulatory mechanism? (Zarghoon Shah- GEO TV)

Answer

Nuclear safety and security can be one avenue for confidence building between both countries.

Question

US State Department Spokesperson has once again asked Pakistan to do more on terrorism in one of recent press briefings. Does that mean that US does not acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism? (Khawaja Nayaar Iqbal – Kashmir Post)

Answer

Pakistan and US are partners in the fight against terrorism. There is repeated acknowledgement of Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism from the US at various levels. I would like to refer to a recent State Department report, in which Pakistan government’s gains against terrorism have been amply highlighted, including statistics to show that the terrorist incidents have decreased down to less than 45 percent. Let me also reiterate that Pakistan is among the biggest victims of terrorism. We have also suffered heavily because of one country in South Asia, which has a track record of continuous interference, and had been perpetrating terrorism and indulged in terror financing. We have strong evidence and confessions to validate this claim.

US has at various levels and occasions acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts on counterterrorism. The most recent example is the statement by Senator John Kerry while visiting India, in which he has acknowledged Pakistan’s successes in the fight against terrorism. Also pertinent to mention here is Senator John McCain’s recent visit to Pakistan, during which he was able to witness firsthand how Pakistan has made significant progress in CT. Each member of his delegation, comprising Senators and Congressmen, acknowledged this fact. Senator McCain on his return also wrote an article to this effect. I think we need to draw our references from these examples.

Question

Could you give us more details on Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Mr. Abdul Basit’s calling in by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in connection with a recent measure by KCCI to stop Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan’s participation in a conference in Karachi? (Tariq Siyal – Daily Times)

Answer

Yes, he was called in by the Indian Foreign Office and given a demarche. We are gathering more information related to this episode. However, let me point out that Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) is an independent body.

Question

Pakistan is pursuing its bid to join NSG and has been actively canvassing for it. However, there are media reports circulating about Pakistan’s alleged links to the North Korean nuclear program. Will this perception not create problems in Pakistan’s pursuit?

What has Pakistan done to implement UNSC Resolution 2270 on North Korean nuclear missiles? (Sammer Abbas – Dawn News)

Answer

Certain recent reports originated from Asian News International (ANI), which is based in India. The sources of these reports were not mentioned which made them impossible to verify. The reports were timed with the NSG Plenary in Seoul which was scheduled to consider NSG applications of Pakistan and India. As such, these reports were clearly politically motivated.

In this age and time, any trade or cooperation between countries can be monitored by various technological means. It is not possible to carry out clandestine operations.

More importantly, there is no political or strategic logic for Pakistan to carry out such cooperation. It would be irrational for Pakistan to seek mainstreaming in the global nuclear nonproliferation regime while doing something which can severely tarnish its reputation. Pakistan stands to gain nothing from it. The ROK is an important development partner of Pakistan and we have a history of a very good relationship. We are therefore certain that the South Korean public will fully understand the motivation behind the recent unfounded media reports.

Question

Could you give us more details on Prime Minister’s upcoming visit to the UNGA Session this month? Will he raise the Kashmir issue as well as Indian Prime Minister’s statement on Balochistan during the Session, and will he provide any evidence to the UN? (Fayyaz Raja – Channel 92)

Answer

I cannot give you a confirmed schedule on Prime Minister’s engagements in the UNGA Session right now. However, let me assure you that on this occasion, like on all previous occasions, the issue of Kashmir will be forcefully raised particularly with reference to the grave ongoing human rights violations being committed by the Indian occupation forces in IoK.

On the question of raising Indian interference in Pakistan at the UN, we have done so in the past. This year too, raising of this issue cannot be ruled out as this matter directly relates to Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Question

I would like to draw your attention to a recent event on Balochistan’s independence held in Afghanistan, in which the flag of Balochistan was allegedly raised. Has Pakistan approached the Afghan government in this regard? (Moazam Ali Rana – Jahan-e-Pakistan)

Answer

As you said, it is a media report and I need to look into it to make a comment. If you are referring to Afghan sentiments and hostile statements against Pakistan, I have mentioned earlier also that such propaganda does not serve the purpose of creating peace and stability in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is Pakistan’s immediate neighbor, and shares a long border and close historical and cultural linkages between the peoples of the two countries. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan will have to cooperate closely.

Pakistan has taken many concrete steps to remove concerns of the Afghan government. For example, we have instituted a Border Management Mechanism to regulate and monitor entry/exit of Pakistani and Afghan nationals into each other’s countries. In this way, Pakistan has, to a large extent, allayed Afghanistan government’s concerns about undesireable elements’ infiltration into their country. I believe that cooperation between the two countries will be instrumental in creating sustainable peace in Afghanistan and also benefit both Pakistan and the entire region.

Question

My question is with regard to Prime Minister’s Special Envoys on Kashmir, who will visit 11 countries across the globe to plead the case of Kashmir. Many of them have strong Indian lobbies. Do you think that Pakistan’s emissaries will be able to convince the international community and garner support for the cause of Kashmir? (Mateen Haider)

Answer

Yes, I am very confident. These envoys are parliamentarians and will reach out to their counterparts and other important dignitaries in respective countries. Their outreach is immensely different as they are the elected representatives reaching out to the elected representatives in those countries to convey the voice and plight of the Kashmiris

The objective of these emissaries is to highlight atrocities carried out in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) with impunity on the innocent and defenceless Kashmiris for over two months by the Indian occupied forces. I am very sure that these visits will expand the understanding of the international community about the gross human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir, and bring home the urgency to quell violence immediately, and seek a peaceful settlement of the dispute within the ambit of UNSC Resolutions.

Let me emphasize that due to constant curfew and media black out, the plight of Kashmiris cannot be seen and understood by the people across the world. Most horrific of the Indian atrocious actions is the use of pellet guns and its devastating impact. They are ensuring that a generation of Kashmiri youth is rendered blind. It is an extremely grave situation, and the world community should raise its voice against it. I am confident that the visits by Prime Minister’s Special Envoys will be highly effective in reinforcing this awareness.

Question

Pakistan stresses resolution of Kashmir dispute through the implementations of UNSC Resolutions; while India has stressed that it is a bilateral issue as agreed in Simla Agreement between both the neighbours and disregards UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir. What is your take on it?

Secondly, the US, Afghanistan and India Trilateral Talks are geared towards sidelining Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan’s peace process. What is Pakistan’s take on it? (Shahid Maitla – ARY News)

Answer

At the outset, let me inform you the Indian claim, in January 1994 that the UNSC Resolutions had become inapplicable, was rejected by the Spokesman of the UN Secretary General, in a statement on 6th January 1994. The Indian argument is also invalid since Art.-1 (i) of SIMLA agreement reads that the principles and purposes of the Charter of the UN shall govern the relations between the two countries. SIMLA Agreement also in no way and cannot overrule the UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir, which call for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination under a UN supervised plebiscite. India not only breached UNSC Resolutions but also violated SIMLA agreement. It may be pertinent to mention that decades of efforts to resolve the issue bilaterally have not been successful.

With regard to your second question, I have already given a comprehensive answer in my last press briefing. However, I will touch upon it after I have addressed other’s questions and time permits.

Question

First of all, I would like to appreciate the role of Pakistan’s Foreign Office in highlighting the issue of Kashmir in a very effective way. My question is that will Prime Minister’s Special Envoys on Kashmir finish their task before the UNGA Session? (Asghar Ali Mubarak – Daily Mail Islamabad)

Answer

What you are envisaging that Envoys will be back before Prime Minister goes to New York to attend the UNGA Session, right? I don’t think you need to link the two. At the UNGA we will be forcefully raising the issue of Kashmir as also India’s ongoing atrocities on Kashmiris in IoK. Indian atrocities have taken more than 90 lives and over 10,000 are injured. The Envoys would be visiting according to the schedule of their meetings with the relevant people and high offices, which may go beyond the UNGA dates. Nevertheless, all those who will have their visits concluded before that would definitely feed into the case on Kashmir situation.

It will definitely be helpful how the international community moves on the issue of human rights violations before the UNGA Session starts. Mr. Awais Leghari’s visit to Geneva as PM’s Special Envoy has been very effective. The experiences of those who come back before the Session will definitely add up in consolidating/accessing the reaction of the international community on the issue of Kashmir.

Question

Peace Research Institute of Oslo Director Kristian Berg Harpviken said that Indian presence in Afghanistan is a grave threat for Pakistan; called-on Pak-Afghan leadership to resolve outstanding issues and understand each other’s perspectives. Also, I would like your comment on the recent tough stance adopted by Afghanistan towards Pakistan, and the former’s growing relationship with India? (Essa Naqvi – Dunya TV)

Answer

I have seen his remarks. We have been emphasizing the need of constructive engagement with Afghanistan for strengthening harmony and deepening cooperation in various areas. We are two close neighbours and should aim at maintaining a good neighborly relationship. Actually, the Director urged both Pakistan and Afghanistan to cooperate with each other and work together so that peace in Afghanistan and the region can be achieved. We have been constantly emphasizing the need to have constructive engagements with Afghanistan and cooperation in various areas.

Question

Can you please give Pakistan’s official view point on the recent execution of Mir Quasem Ali in Bangladesh? (Javed Rana – Press TV)

Supplementary Question

In the execution of Mir Quasem Ali, has Bangladesh unilaterally violated the 1974 Tripartite Agreement? (Shahid Ajmal – South Asian News Agency)

Answer

We have issued a Press Release on this, which said: “Pakistan is deeply saddened over the execution of the prominent leader of Jamat-e-Islami, Bangladesh, Mir Quasem Ali, for the alleged crimes committed before December 1971, through a flawed judicial process.

The act of suppressing the Opposition, through flawed trials, is completely against the spirit of democracy. Ever since the beginning of the trials, several international organizations, human rights groups, and international legal figures have raised objections to the court proceedings, especially regarding fairness and transparency, as well as harassment of lawyers and witnesses representing the accused.

The government of Bangladesh should uphold its commitment, as per the Tripartite Agreement of 1974, wherein it “decided not to proceed with the trials as an act of clemency.

Recriminations for political gains are counterproductive.

Pakistan believes that matters should be addressed with a forward looking approach in the noble spirit of reconciliation.

Pakistan offers deepest condolences to the bereaved family members.”

Question

Recently, a meeting was held in Geneva, to review the implementation of International Convention on the Eliminating of all forms of Rational Discriminations (ICERD) on 16-17 August 2016. The concluding Observations and Reservations of the Committee make several recommendations to improve the situation of minorities, from repealing blasphemy laws to protecting rights of minorities in Pakistan. What is Pakistan doing to improve its human rights record? (Tariq Mahmood – Daily SAMAA)

Answer

The democratically elected Government of Pakistan is fully cognizant of its responsibility to promote and protect rights of all its citizens. Significant progress has been made in the field of human rights in recent years. We have functional National Human Rights Commission, National Commission on Minorities and National Commission on the Status of Woman. A comprehensive “National Action Plan on Human Rights” has been approved by the Prime Minister with an allocation of funds to the tune of PKR 750 Million.

A range of legislative, institutional and administrative measures have been taken for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

Although the minorities constitute 3 percent of the population, the government has fixed a 5 percent quota of jobs for minorities in all federal services. The government has also made special budgetary allocation for grant of scholarships to deserving students from minority communities.

Pakistan is a party to seven core human rights Conventions. This includes ICERD. Pakistan’s latest report to the treaty body relating to ICERD was recently reviewed in Geneva (16-17 August). Minister for Human Rights, Mr. Kamran Michael presented the report and interacted with the members of the Committee.

Question

What is the current status of QCG, and how it will effect the future of the Afghanistan’s peace talks? (Rabia Pir – VOA)

Answer

This question also relates to another question previously asked by Mr. Shahid Maitla. Pakistan remains committed to the establishment of durable peace in Afghanistan. We firmly believe that peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest and the larger regional interest. The entire region will benefit from a peaceful Afghanistan. The potential of this region can be effectively exploited to the advantage of its people.

One thing to keep in mind about QCG is that the process was established in December 2015. You are looking at a problem in Afghanistan that is more than three and half decades old. Therefore, our expectations with the process should be realistic. For the last 15 years, militarily and economically powerful counties are still struggling to bring peace in Afghanistan.

QCG has three facilitators, the US, China and Pakistan, who are making efforts to bring the warring factions to the negotiation table. It is an intra-Afghan process. All the members have a collective responsibility. Pakistan remains committed to the process and making efforts to bring warring factions in Afghanistan to the negotiating table.

Question

India has launched a Balochi language channel. Do you think India is trying to impose a media war on Pakistan? (Shahid Nadeem – Al Jazeera)

Answer

I have comprehensively covered this topic before. We all need to realize why India is doing this. India wants to divert attention of the world community from the grave human rights violations in IoK. No matter how much they try to keep the media and the world community in the dark, people are able to differentiate between farce and reality quite clearly.

India has shut down offices of Amnesty International for raising voice for Kashmiris in IOK. India rejected calls of sending a fact-finding mission by UNHCR Commissioner to IoK. It has not responded to a similar request for a fact-finding mission by the OIC. It has also turned down Pakistan’s offers to start dialogue on Kashmir and help to the injured Kashmiris especially those with eye injuries. We all know that Indian media has a history of carrying out maligning and vilification campaigns against Pakistan, creating misperceptions about us around the world. We really need to understand the motive behind this approach of India. As I said, India is desperately wants to deflect world’s attention from the grievous human rights situation in IOK.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs