Latest Press Releases/Speeches

Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 22 December 2016

(2016-12-22) [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!

Since Burhan Muzaffar Wani's extra-judicial killing on 8th July 2016 by the Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Kashmir, India in complete violation of the UN Charter and International Law on fundamental rights has been randomly arresting innocent Kashmiris using the draconian laws or lawless laws such as Public Safety Act. More than 10,000 Kashmiri youth have been arrested during the last 5 months and there is no news about them whether they have been tortured and sent to the similar 'Mass Graves' that were discovered in 2009! Pakistan is deeply concerned about the fate of those arrested Kashmiris. International Community must stop Indian brutalities and bloodshed of Kashmiris. We call upon the UN, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other such organizations to call India to account for its blatant violations of human rights.

So far more than 6,000 Kashmiris, including children, are victims of pellet guns, over 150 have been martyred and more than 17,000 are injured, many of whom without any medical attention. Indian occupation forces and Hindu terrorist organizations such as RSS and others, should be tried for their crimes against humanity.

Reportedly, PDP-BJP regime, a result of sham elections in IOK in violation of UNSC Resolutions, has started issuing domicile certificates to non-Kashmiri Hindus in Jammu region. The move is part of the regime's nefarious designs to change the demographic composition of the territory. This act of bringing material change in the disputed territory of Jammu & Kashmir is a blatant violation of UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir. Kashmiris have hopes that international community and relevant international organizations will call India to the account.

At an International European Kashmir Conference in Denmark last month, representatives of 500 various political & social organizations and NGOs adopted Copenhagen Declaration called, inter alia, for release of those arrested under lawless laws immediately and those blinded Kashmiris using pellet guns be brought to book.

There are no two opinions that how media, particularly social and electronic media, are an effective means of communication among the global community. Regrettably, some elements tend to misuse it with, apparently, an ill intent. Given the outreach, it is important that greater responsibility is exercised. It is not good to start a media campaign without establishing the facts on any matter. This tendency of media trial is not a healthy sign in this era of high technology. People have been hurting people by way of their irresponsible act. Unfortunately, in such instances even in Pakistan, some media and social media users have not shown a sense of maturity and nationalism. A case in point is the sad incident in Berlin.

The Prime Minister concluded a 3-day productive visit to Bosnia & Herzegovina. There is exist a strong fraternal bond between the two nations. The Prime Minister's visit has set an impetus and provided direction to the bilateral relations.

Now the Floor is open for Questions


Question

Russia, Pakistan and China trilateral meeting will be held in Moscow on 27 December 2016. What will the level of participation from the Pakistani side and what will be the agenda of the meeting? (Moazam Ali Rana - Jahan-e-Pakistan)


Answer

The Foreign Secretary will lead the Pakistani delegation in this meeting. This is an existing forum for undertaking informal discussions on issues of regional peace and stability, including situation in Afghanistan.


Question

In your opening remarks, you have very candidly mentioned the efforts of Pakistan for Kashmir cause. Pakistan has played an active role in highlighting the Indian atrocities in IoK. You have mentioned that India is purposefully trying to change the demographics of IoK, which may have its impact if the plebiscite happens there. What is Pakistan's stance in this regard? Will Pakistan take the matter up with UN? (Asghar Ali Mubarak - Daily Mail Islamabad)


Answer

Pakistan has been continuously raising the issue of Indian human rights violations in IoK at UN and other multilateral forums very effectively. What you are referring to is the material change that is demographic change in IoK. This material change violates UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir. We have taken this matter time and again on various occasions, and will continue to do so with United Nations Secretary General and UNSC Members.


Question

Indian Supreme Court has issued a controversial verdict on Kashmir, calling it an inviolable part of India. Kashmiri leaders have raised their voices against this decision. Kashmir is a disputed issue on the UNSC agenda. It is, therefore, a violation of UNSC Resolutions. Will Pakistan raise the issue with the UNSC? How long will the UN and its members allow India to make a mockery of UN Resolutions? (Shahid Maitla - ARY News)


Answer

Indeed, Kashmir issue is outstanding on the UN Security Council's agenda. India as a state has been constantly violating UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir by calling it as its integral part. India is also a violator of the UNSC Resolutions on account of denying UNMOGIP access to Indian occupied Kashmir. India is in violation of UN Charter and International Humanitarian Laws on account of committing worst human rights violations in the living memory and then adamantly disallowing calls for any independent investigations into the genocide and crimes against humanity its occupation troops are blatantly committing in IoK. The UN Members and Human Rights organizations should take note and initiate action against India. Demographic change that India is carrying out in IoK is also a violation of UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir dispute. Pakistan constantly takes up the issue with the UN.


Question

According to media reports, Indian Coast Guards have entered into Pakistani territorial waters, and arrested 26 Pakistani fishermen near Sir Creek. Has Pakistan taken up the matter with the Indian authorities? (Tariq Sial - Daily Times)


Answer

I have seen this media report and am yet to get details on it. Once I have the requisite information from the relevant authorities, it will be shared.


Question

Indian PM Modi has once again admitted to India's open involvement in the 1971 event in East Pakistan, at an address marking the 45th Anniversary of the fall of Dhaka. Earlier also, we have seen Prime Minister Modi admitting to this fact during an address at the Dhaka University last year. Will the Foreign Office finally make a strong case against India's consistent involvement in the internal affairs of Pakistan since its early days with the UN? (Essa Naqvi - Dunya News)


Answer

Indian interference in Pakistan is a clear violation of the provisions of UN Charter pertaining to the respect for the sovereignty of its members. Indian state actors' subversive activities have been proven beyond doubt. We have already shared our views in this regard. In the context, I draw your attention to the public confession of Kulbhushan Yadav, activities of Indian RAW and IB operatives who were working at their High Commission in Islamabad, which were made public recently, Mr. Chuck Hagel's statement, PM Modi's statement of 15 August and the one at Dhaka University, Ministers Ajit Doval and Manohar Parrikar statements of using Taliban (based in Afghanistan) against Pakistan and terror financing, are some of the references. We have earlier also taken up these issues with the UNSG and UNSC Members and we would raise it on all appropriate occasions.


Question

According to media reports, hundreds of Pakistanis are languishing in different jails in Jaddah due to fake promises of employment by local agents, or having fake work employments. Can you please tell us as to how many Pakistanis are in Jeddah jails and what efforts Pakistan's mission has done to help them? Did any family member of their contact Foreign Office and is Saudi Arabia ready to give them any leverage on humanitarian grounds? (Bashir Chaudhry - 24 News)


Supplementary Question

I want to know about Pakistanis stranded in Saudi Arabia who returned back. Could you please tell whether they got the dues which were earlier announced by the Government? What practical steps have been taken in this regard? (Anwar Abbas - Waqat News)


Answer

There are 728 Pakistani nationals detained in various jails in the Western region of Saudi Arabia which falls under consular jurisdiction of Jeddah Consulate.

Whenever a case is reported to the Consulate regarding dispute between a Pakistani employee and his sponsor, first of all, efforts are made to settle the issues through negotiations with the employers. If negotiations fail the workers are guided to make recourse to the labour courts and the Consulate assists them in adjudication of their disputes. The Consulate provides facility of interpreter in Labour Courts to such Pakistani workers. On the average, 150-175 overseas Pakistanis are facilitated in this regard per month.

Legal Consultants of the Consulate are providing legal aid to the Pakistani prisoners by visiting jails and deportation centers. Our officers/officials visit various jails on regular basis in order to provide maximum assistance to the imprisoned Pakistanis to their repatriation/deportation. Emergency passports are issued to those Pakistani prisoners who are without any valid travel documents enabling them to travel back to Pakistan.

The Consulate receives mercy petitions from the families of prisoners which the Missions forward to the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs for consideration and pursue the cases diligently.

The Consulate has repeatedly requested the Ministry of Interior to advise the agents not to issue Azad Visas as there is no such category in the Kingdom. Protectors of Emigrants should play their role to educate the intending emigrants about the hazards and dangerous implications of emigration on "Azad Visa" an illegal arrangement and nature of sponsorship prior to departure from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia.

Verification of demand and genuineness of Visas issued by the employers in KSA should be carried out by the relevant Ministry and due attestation by Welfare Wing in Pakistan Missions abroad. An awareness campaign may be launched in the country utilizing the print and electronic media highlighting the consequences of drug trafficking.

Saudi Arabian authorities have extended full support, assistance and generosity towards resolving issues of the Pakistani community residing in Saudi Arabia.

As to the question of Mr. Anwar Abbas, I need to check the current status. Many Pakistanis have filed petitions over there and I need to check the progress on their petitions.


Question

Adviser to the Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz, while briefing the Senate Standing Committee has said that Haqqani and Taliban were asked to end violence in Afghanistan? Does Pakistan have any contacts with Taliban in this regard.

Secondly, is Afghanistan on the agenda of the upcoming trilateral talks between Pakistan-Russia-China? (Rabia Pir - VOA)


Answer

As to your second question, I have already responded that regional issues will be discussed including the situation in Afghanistan.

As to your first question, we have said this earlier also that peace and stability in Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan and the entire region. In this spirit, we remain committed and extend all cooperation to the efforts towards bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan has played a very positive role in bringing warring factions to the negotiating table. Whenever we are approached to help bring the warring factions to the negotiating table, we will assist.

Since I have also responded to similar questions previously, you may like refer to my previous replies as well.


Question

Pentagon in a report said that Afghan militant groups like Taliban and Haqqani network retain freedom of action from inside Pakistani territory; US continues to urge Islamabad to deny safe havens to terror outfits. Your comments please! (Shaukat Paracha - Aaj TV)


Answer

Pakistan does not allow its territory to be used for attacks against any other country. A large number of terrorists have moved to other side of the border after successful launch of Zarb-e-Azb near Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The results of our military action are there for everyone to see through peace and stability at the borders. This fact has already been acknowledged at various levels of the US leadership and the rest of the world along with the sacrifices that Pakistan has rendered in the fight against terrorism.

This is more of rhetoric than anything else. Afghanistan is infested with most terrorist organizations due to the instability there, which has created space for these terrorist elements. These are the facts which are known to all. I draw your attention to my earlier statements in this regard in which I have made references to the UN study in 2014, killing of leaders and senior commanders of Haqqani Network in Afghanistan. I have earlier said that how many senior commanders of Haqqani Network, Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups killed in Afghanistan this year, which clearly indicates where these organizations' leadership actually is. You may like to see my responses in this regard, which are available on the Ministry's website.


Question

My question is regarding Donald Trump's yet another statement against Muslims, and Israeli Parliament's recent legislations on Jews settlements in Palestine. What are Pakistan's views on these two issues? (Khawaja Nayaar Iqbal - Kashmir Post)


Answer

As to your first question, we need to understand that terrorists have no religion. It will be wrong to associate this phenomenon to any one religion. Importantly, Islam does not teach violence or terrorism. Numerous references to this are available, in the statements by various religious leaders across the world. Terrorism is a global phenomenon and people from various regions and nations have been perpetrating terrorism.

As to your second question, since 1967, Israel has continued settlement construction and expansion in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in defiance of its international law obligations. This illegal activity has rendered the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, increasingly fragmented.

Pakistan strongly opposes the construction of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, and condemns all illegal activities of Israeli government, including settlements, separation wall, excavations beneath the Al Aqsa mosque and forceful eviction of Palestinians from their homes.


Question

My question pertains to the recent truck attack in Germany, in which a Pakistani was indicted. Do you have any report about whether he was released because his family says that he has not made any contact with them ever since this incident happened? (Salman Rao - TNN)


Answer

I think in this regard there are reports that the Pakistani initially indicted for terrible attack, was not involved in the incident and hence released. Our Embassy is in touch with German authorities in this regard. What you are referring to is not something I can comment on. According to German sources, he was released.


Question

At a recent Senate briefing, Adviser Sartaj Aziz spoke about tensions in Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. He also mentioned that relations with Iran were on upward trajectory. Could you give us update on progress on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project? (Fida Hussain - Radio News Network)


Answer

I would not comment on what Adviser Sartaj Aziz has said, which is already on record. With regard to Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, I would refer you to Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources for details.


Question

Are you aware of number of licenses issued to Foreign Dignitaries lately for hunting purposes, following a Supreme Court Judgment of last year, which allowed granting hunting licenses to foreign nationals? (Qasim Nauman - Wall Street Journal)


Answer

I do not have any information on this.


Question

Please tell us where and when the upcoming trilateral meeting between Pakistan-Russia-China will take place? Also, Mr. Tariq Fatemi recently concluded his US visit. Was he able to meet any member of the Trump Administration? (Mateen Haider - Such TV)


Answer

As to your first question, I have already stated that the trilateral meeting will be held on 27 December 2016 in Russia.

As to your second question, I have already given a detailed account of Mr. Tariq Fatemi's visit and his interactions there. He had constructive discussions with a number of important political figures and met various segments of the society, including the think tanks, media, etc. The outcome of his visit has already been shared in my earlier media briefing and press releases. You may refer to that for further details.


Question

A big delegation of Qatari Royal family was in Pakistan recently. Can you please share details of the purposes of visit and whether meetings were held with Pakistani authorities? (Ali Hasnain - Business Recorder)


Answer

I don't have any information at the moment available on this.


*****