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Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 05 April 2018

(2018-04-05) Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 05 April 2018

[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

I begin this Press Briefing on a very sad note. Our Kashmiri brothers and sisters have been subjected to extreme brutality and human rights violations by India during the last week.

Indian occupation forces have martyred more than twenty people, including Zubair Ahmad Bhat (Age 22), Mehraj-ud-Din Mir (Age 28),Mohammad Iqbal Bhat (Age 30),Mushtaq Ahmad Thoker (Age 38), Adil Ahmed Thoker (Age 23),Zubair Ahmad Turray (Age 26),Rayees Ahmed Thoker (Age 22), Nazim Nazir Dar (Age 18, Hifz-e-Quran),Yawar Ahmad Itoo (Age 19), Ubaid Shafi Malla (Age 19), Ishfaq Ahmad Malik (Age 23), Aedimad Fayaz Malik(Age 26, M-Phil scholar), Sameer Ahmed Lone, Gyas-ud-Din Thokar (Age 28), Ishfaq Ahmed Thokar (Age 25), Aaqib Ibal Malik (Age 20),Rouf Bashir Khanday (Age 21), and Gowhar Ahmed Rathore (22-year-old)in Shopian, Islamabad and Kangan areas of India occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Over 300 defenseless Kashmiris, including young people were injured by bullets and pellets guns, while 41 persons face vision loss with at partial or complete blindness, due to pellets fired on them by Indian occupation forces.

Pakistan has unequivocally condemned, in the strongest possible terms, the brutal and indiscriminate use of force by the Indian occupation forces. This mindless killing spree exposes, yet again, the ugly, inhuman face of the state-terrorism that India has been perpetrating against the Kashmiris for decades. We have repeatedly pointed out that the Kashmiri youth is being deliberately and systematically targeted with a view to breaking the will of the Kashmiri people. However, such cowardly actions of the occupying forces only serve to fortify the resolve of the Kashmiri people.

In the aftermath of this massive killing spree and deliberate targeting of Kashmiri youth by India, Pakistan expressed its full solidarity with the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi called a special meeting of the Federal Cabinet and the meeting of the National Security Committee of the Cabinet to review the situation arising from the recent Indian brutalities and killings in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir. The cabinet adopted a resolution condemning the brutal and indiscriminate use of force by India, the illegal suspension of communication services in IoK, in an attempt to silence the Kashmiri voices, and the draconian laws including POTA, TADA, PSA and AFSPA to try to crush the struggle of the Kashmiri people. The NSC paid a rich tribute to the brave and resilient people of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir and urged the international community to take cognizance of India's systematic human rights violations.

It has also been decided that Special Envoys would be sent to selected capitals and Prime Minister's earlier request to appoint a UN-mandated Special Envoy on Jammu & Kashmir has been reiterated. The Prime Minister has also directed that Pakistan would bear all expanses for the treatment of injured Kashmiris in IoK anywhere in the world.

Prime Minister also expressed deep shock and grief at the indiscriminate, vicious killings and the brutal crackdown, including the despicable use of pellet guns on protesting civilians. Strongly condemning the gross inhuman violations of the basic human rights of innocent Kashmiris, including the basic human right to life and health, the Prime Minister emphasized that Indian attempts to label the legitimate Kashmir struggle as terrorism cannot deter the valiant people of Jammu and Kashmir from their demand of exercising their right to self determination in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. The Prime Minister also stressed the need for the international community to urge India to allow access to fact finding missions of the OHCHR and OIC IPHRC to Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir. Yesterday, the Prime Minister visited Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) to address joint session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly(LA).

In pursuance of the Cabinet's decision, the Foreign Minister held a Press Conference, briefing local and international media about the prevailing the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir and the decisions reached at by the special meeting of the Federal Cabinet.

This morning, Foreign Minister and the Foreign Secretary also briefed the Heads of Missions of the Diplomatic Missions in Islamabad regarding Indian brutalities and atrocities on the innocent Kashmiris. The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps thanked the Foreign Minister for the briefing.

In complete solidarity with the people of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, Friday 06 April 2018 will be observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day in Islamabad and Pakistan Missions abroad.

Now some activities on the diplomatic front:

Pakistan strongly condemned the latest Houthi ballistic missile attacks on Saudi cities. The Government of Saudi Arabia has taken timely action for destroying this missile and several others that have been directed against the Kingdom in recent days. Such missiles are increasingly threatening innocent lives and must cease. Pakistan reiterates its full support and solidarity with Saudi Arabia against any threats to its territorial integrity and against the Haramain Sharifain.

Pakistan condemns the use of force by Israel against defenceless Palestinians resulting in the death of several Palestinians and injuring many others in Gaza. Pakistan calls upon the international community to put an end to the blatant use of force and flagrant violation of human rights of Palestinian people. Establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is the only sustainable guarantee for peace in the region.

A delegation of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), led by Co-Chairs from Ireland and Iceland visited Pakistan on 29th March 2018, and held discussions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both sides exchanged views on export control measures relevant to MTCR and the latest political as well as technical development in this area. Briefing the outreach Mission on Pakistan's comprehensive administrative, legislative and regulatory export control measures, the Director General noted full compatibility of Pakistan's measures with the best international standards and coverage of items and technologies controlled by the MTCR. Reaffirming Pakistan's continuing commitment to the goals of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, the Pakistani side underlined that control measures should not impinge on the developing countries' legitimate right of access to dual-use technologies for socio-economic progress.

The proposal of establishing a Pakistan Centre in Chengdu-Hi Tech (CDHT) by the Chengdu Government is a very positive initiative. The Pakistan-China Centre should be used to demonstrate all the key endowment of Pakistan in the field of Science & Technology.

We extend our belated congratulations to Dr. Muhammad Salman H Qureshi on his selection as the youngest scientist from Pakistan to participate in the 68th Lindau Laureate meeting in medicine that will take place from 24-29 June in Lindau, Germany. Only 600 most qualified young scientists from all across the world are able to get the opportunity to enrich and share the unique atmosphere of the Lindau Noble Laureates meeting. The whole nation is proud of him.

Now the Floor is open for Questions

Question

Reportedly, our Embassy in Washington has contacted the US Government for support on Kashmir but there is no positive response from US side. Your comments please!

A march in Islamabad was organized for exhibiting solidarity with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters, participants of the march tried to present a memorandum to UN Office in Islamabad but they have refused to receive it in front of the media. After this, what does Pakistan expect from the UN, as to how helpful it will be in resolving the Jammu & Kashmir dispute?

Has any decision been taken regarding sending Special Envoys to various capitals of the world? (Rashida Sial - Abb Tak)

Answer

Regarding the nomination of Special Envoys, the decision was reached in the recent special meeting of the Cabinet on the situation in Jammu & Kashmir. Once the details are finalized, we will share them with you.

Regarding your first question, yes, we take up the matter of Indian brutalities in IoK with not only US but all the countries of the world, bilaterally, as well as in the multilateral forums.

The case of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir is rooted in legality and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, which remain unimplemented for the past seven decades. The legal position on Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir remains unchanged. There may have been a change in the political stance of the international community due to the changing circumstances in the global world, but that has no impact on the legal basis of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and on the ground situation.

Pakistan has always forcefully and effectively taken up the matter of the continued Kashmiri struggle for realizing of the right to self-determination, at the UN and all other relevant forums. Successive Prime Ministers of Pakistan have spoken at length about this issue in all of their UN General Assembly Annual Sessions speeches. This morning, Foreign Minister gave a comprehensive briefing to the diplomatic corps in Islamabad on the recent situation in IoK, which was highly appreciated. Let me remind you that the Indian brutal and gross human rights violation against the Kashmiri people is a serious humanitarian issue. All civilized countries of the world are party to the universal Human Rights Charter. The issue of Jammu & Kashmir is critical for peace and stability of the region and the world.

The first step towards the resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir issue is the immediate and absolute halt the Indian brutal atrocities on innocent Kashmiris. Indian occupation forces are using weapons and pellet guns on Kashmiris that the civilized world has banned on even using on the animals. International community is obligated to play an effective role to put an immediate halt for this bloodshed, and for an early resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. The Kashmiri people expect this from the world.

Question

Recently, the Indian High Commissioner met with our National Security Adviser. Please share the details of the meeting and what specific proposals were discussed?

Second, reportedly, fifteen oil workers, three of them from Pakistan, were killed on 01 April 2018 in a road accident in Kuwait. Please share details of the incident? (Shaukat Paracha - Aaj TV)

Answer

On your first question, Pakistan has never refused to hold dialogue with India because we have nothing to hide. Indian High Commissioner wanted to meet with our National Security Adviser. Also, our High Commissioner in New Delhi had met with the Indian NSA. Efforts for resumption of dialogue are ongoing. We will let you know of the developments, if any.

On your second question, fifteen oil workers including three Pakistanis, seven Indians and five Egyptians were killed in a fatal collision between two buses on the southern Wafra highway in Kuwait. They were employees of Burgan Drilling, a private sub-contractor for Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). The Pakistanis killed in the accident were identified as: Mehtab Iqbal Muhammad Aslam Khalid Mehmood Yusuf Muhammad Javed Khan Abbasi

The dead bodies of the three Pakistanis have been transported to Pakistan on 3 April 2018. The Amir of Kuwait sent messages of condolence on the horrific tragedy and shared the grief of families of the deceased.

Question

Ambassador Alice Wells was on a week-long visit to Pakistan. Foreign Office and ISPR have shared some of the details of her engagements. Has Pakistan taken up the issue of recent surge of violence in IoK with her? Was there any political agenda of her visit?

Second, at least 17 immigrants from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan were killed in a bus accident recently in Turkey. Can you please share details in this regard? What efforts have been taken by our Mission to facilitate families of those killed in the tragic incident?

Third, what is Pakistan's reaction to the air strikes on civilians in Kunduz? (Mateen Haider - Freelance Journalist)

Supplementary Questions

Normally, Foreign Office is very quick to condemn any terrorist attack in Afghanistan but why Foreign Office is silent on this brutal massacre in Kunduz? (Kausar Lodhi - Prime News)

US and Pakistan are trying to find common grounds. In your view, how far an incident like Kunduz would help in finding common ground between the two sides?

Second, you have condemned the killing of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli forces. What is Pakistan's position on the Saudi Crown Prince's statement on Israel? (Fida Hussain - Radio News Network)

Is Pakistan planning to convene a meeting of the OIC in the backdrop of Indian brutalities in Kashmir and Israeli aggression on Palestinians? (Zahid Khan - Frontier Post)

Answer

Our Mission in Turkey immediately established contact with relevant Turkish authorities to ascertain the number of Pakistani nationals injured as a result of the accident in Igdir, Turkey. We are informed that seven Pakistani nationals were injured in the accident. The injured immigrants are currently undergoing medical treatment in Turkish hospitals. The nationality of 17 other immigrants, who died in the accident, is yet to be identified by the Turkish authorities. The Mission is in constant contact with relevant Turkish authorities on the matter.

On Ambassador Alice Wells' visit to Pakistan, we have raised the Jammu & Kashmir dispute with her. Ambassador Wells' visit is indicative of the willingness on both sides to continue engagement and find some common ground. Details of the meetings continue to remain outside the public glare.

On Kunduz incident, the loss of precious civilian lives, especially children is regrettable. Pakistan has consistently maintained that peace in Afghanistan is possible only through an Afghan - led, Afghan - owned process. The violence and bloodshed cannot achieve anything.

As a matter of principle, we do not comment on the internal matters of any other country, but the incident in Kunduz in which innocent children and a large number of civilians were martyred as a result of airstrikes on a graduation ceremony in a madrassah is deplorable. In our view it is important to make conscious efforts to avoid any such actions that are detrimental to peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan by all of us.

Regarding the OIC meeting, Foreign Minister has spoken with the OIC Secretary General in this regard. We will let you know once any decision is reached.

On Saudi Crown Prince's statement, we do not comment on the bilateral relations of two countries.

Question

Reportedly, US has designated Milli Muslim League (MML) and Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir (TAJK) as terrorist outfit. Seven members of MML central leadership body have also been designated as foreign terrorist. What is Pakistan's response? (Masroor Gillani - AFP)

Answer

The US State Department has amendeded its terrorist designation of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) to include the aliases Milli Muslim League (MML) and Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-e Kashmir (TAJK). Accordingly, the US Treasury department has also listed seven members of the MML central leadership for acting on behalf of the LeT on its Specially Designated Nationals List. These individuals are; Saifullah Khalid, Muzammil Iqbal Hashmi, Muhammad Harris Dar, tabish Qayyum, Fayyaz Ahmad, Faisal Nadeem and Muhammad Ehsan. It is worth mentioing that Pakistan had already listed TAJK as proscribed and this was conveyed to Ambassador Wells when she raised this issue in the meeting with the Foreign Secretary on 29 March.

Additionally, the US amendment in its domestic designation does not trigger internationally binding obligations for Pakistan. Therefore, the US decision may be seen in its domestic context.

As for the status of MML in Pakistan, the matter is subjudice before the Court and Election Commission of Pakistan and hence I would refrain from commenting on it.

Question

We have witnessed in the past that whenever India commits human rights violations in Kashmir, the Foreign Office has arranged briefing sessions for the Diplomatic Envoys in Islamabad. Does Foreign Office plan to conduct more briefing sessions in the future? (Shahid Maitla - ARY News)

Answer

The Foreign Minister has briefed the diplomatic corps this morning. We will continue to arrange similar briefings depending on the situation.

Question

What is the update on Commander Kulbhushan Jhadev's case as India will submit its reply to the ICJ on 17th of April? (Anas Malick - Republic TV)

Answer

We will review the Indian reply and then respond.

Question

Reportedly, India is planning to deploy National Security Guards (NSG) for launching special operations to suppress the indigenous movement for self-determination in Indian occupied Kashmirs. These notorious National Security Guards are famous for conducting special operations in Indian Punjab and attacks on Golden Temple. How do you see this development?

Second, in a very sophisticated move, India is now sending pharmaceutical products to control the birth rate and to affect the new born babies in IoK alongwith its ongoing brutalities on the people of the valley. How do you see this aspect as these reports are coming from researches conducted not only in India but also the European Union? (Faisal Raza Khan - 92 News)

Answer

Pakistan has taken a series of steps during the last week to effectively highlight the Indian atrocities in IoK and show India's heinous face to the world. India must stop the brutalities and bloodshed of innocent Kashmiris in IoK. It is our belief that India shall not succeed in breaking the resolve of the Kashmiri, people despite using all tactics and force. Pakistan will continue to extend diplomatic, political and moral support to its Kashmiri brothers and sisters. Pakistan, as well as our Missions across the world will observe Kashmir Solidarity Day tomorrow, to condemn India's gross human rights violations. We again ask the international community to play an effective role in bringing India to account and for the early resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

Question

Foreign Minister has announced to nominate Special Envoys on Kashmir, who will visit various countries of the world to apprise the international community about the recent bloodshed by Indian occupation forces in IoK. What will be the significance of these Special Envoys? How will they be different from the Special Envoys sent in 2016?

How many countries have expressed solidarity with Pakistan on the recent atrocities committed by India occupation forces on the innocent Kashmiris in IoK? (Essa Naqvi - Dunya News)

Answer

I have already given a detailed account of this in my opening remarks. As I have mentioned before, Iran, Turkey, Secretary General OIC and UN Secretary have all issued statements in this regard. More efforts are underway, which you will see in the coming days.

Question

The Head of General Security of Dubai recently tweeted, advising his countrymen not to employee Pakistanis because of their alleged involvement in smuggling. He has also gone sweeping comparison between Pakistanis and Indian workers in UAE. How does Pakistan respond to his remarks? (Tariq Mahmood - SAMAA TV)

Answer

Our Ambassador in Abu Dhabi has taken up the issue with UAE authorities. They are looking into this matter. However, such instances do not reflect the official position of the government of UAE.

Both Pakistan and UAE enjoy close, cordial and fraternal relations. UAE is home to 1.6 million Pakistanis who have played an important role in the development and progress of the UAE. Pakistani community is law abiding and the contribution of Pakistani community in the development and progress of UAE has been widely acknowledged by the leadership of UAE.

Question

Reportedly, BJP and RSS are systematically altering the facts from the past in the Indian text books to tailor the myths of the 'Hindu' origin of the Indian people, in a bid to radicalize the entire premise of Indian history. Please comment on this development! (Khawaja Nayaar Iqbal - Daily Kashmir Post)

Answer

I do not know the exact details, however, rising intolerance and bigotry in India, especially towards its minorities, particularly Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Dalits, is well documented. The sense of insecurity in minorities is increasing. Incidents of cow vigilantes and lynching, often with Government's support have been consistently criticized by reputable International organizations, including Amnesty international and Human Rights Watch.

Extremism and bigotry in India threatens regional peace and should be a wakeup call for India if they do not wish to slide further into intolerance and fanaticism, which is the sadly is the current reality of India.

Question

Firstly, please tell us what is the response/outcome of the dossiers Pakistan handed over to Afghanistan? Is there any improvement in Afghan situation after your efforts for peace and reconciliation?

Secondly, as there is a NAB reference regarding Hussain Haqani, we want to know whether there is any mechanism for checks and balances on the funds given to Foreign Mission of Pakistan. (Majid Jarral - News One)

Answer

On the dossier, to the best of my knowledge, we have not received any response yet.

Pakistan has always supported an Afghan-led Afghan-owned peace process. The Prime Minister is going to Kabul tomorrow. Foreign Secretary went Kabul earlier this week. The Chief of Army Staff visited Kabul last year. All these are reflective of Pakistan's desire to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

On Hussain Haqani, I will check and get back to you.

Question

A few days ago, a session was held of Indus Water Commission in Delhi. What was the outcome of this Session? (Naveed Akbar- Dunya Newspaper)

Answer

The question pertains to Ministry of Water and Power.

Question

Foreign Secretary went to Kabul on Monday to continue negotiations on Pakistan-proposed APAPPS. Did she come back with some specific proposals for Prime Minister's upcoming visit?

Please share details of Prime Minister's upcoming visit to Kabul! (Shabbir Waghara - PTV World)

Supplementary Questions

After APAPPS meeting, usually a joint declaration used to be issued, but there is complete silence after recent FS visit to Kabul. What were the points of agreement or disagreement during the discussions? How effective was the initiative? (Rashida Sial-Abb Tak)

My question is regarding Prime Minister's upcoming visit to China. Although there are Chinese infrastructure projects under CPEC, but after political destabilisation in the country, no further or new projects were initiated. Will Prime Minister raise this issue with Chinese officials? (Tariq Mahmood -SAMMA TV)

Answer

Regarding the question for details on CPEC, you may contact the Ministry of Planning.

Prime Minister will visit China on 8th April.

On the first question, Foreign Secretary led an inter-agency delegation to Kabul on April 02, 2018 for 3rd round of discussions on Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). During the meeting, the two sides expanded their agreement on the document. Pakistan will remain engaged with Afghan side to finalize the document and early operationalization of the five working groups envisioned in the APAPPS.

Question

How far does the international community align with Pakistan's view that there is a difference between terrorism and freedom movement? (Shahid Rahman - Kyodo)

Answer

I disagree with your statement that this is Pakistan's view. This difference is accepted by the international community and documented in innumerable documents of UN, which uphold the right of people of the world to self-determination. Therefore, there is no change in the position concerning the matter.

There is also no agreed definition of terrorism as yet.

Question

Russia, Iran and Turkey have geared up their efforts for peace in Syria. What is Pakistan's official position on Syria? (Amjad Ali - PTV News)

Answer

Pakistan supports all efforts employed at facilitating a peaceful Syrian-led and inclusive solution that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people through a comprehensive political dialogue.

Question

There are reports that Foreign Office has objected for inclusion of Gilgit Baltistan team in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Can you confirm? (Fida Hussain - Radio News Network)

Answer

Your question pertains to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

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