Media Briefing|

(2018-09-19) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated]

Assalaam-o-Alaikum,

A brief overview of the recent foreign policy developments.

Blatant human rights violations by India have intensified in Indian occupied Kashmir. Indian occupation forces killed fourteen (11) youth including 24-year old Rouf Ahmad Ganai, Gulzar Ahmad Padder, Faisal Ahmad Rather, Zahid Ahmad Mir, MolviMasroor Ahmad Butt, Zahoor Ahmad Lone in Kulgam, Sopore, Samba areas of Indian Occupied Kashmir during different operations. We denounce the use of force by the Indian Army against the defenseless Kashmiris in the Indian occupied Kashmir. Indian occupation forces have hit a barbaric low desecrating the dead. You must have seen the picture going viral on social media showing Indian occupation forces dragging the mutilated body of a chained martyred youth in Reasi district of Jammu. The human rights violations in Pulwama, Shopian, Islamabad, Kulgam, Kupwara, Bandipore, Baramulla and Srinagar districts of Indian occupied Kashmir are condemnable.

The Prime Minister is currently undertaking a State visit to Saudi Arabia on the invitation of His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince His Royal Highness Mohammad Bin Salman. The Prime Minister is accompanied by Foreign Minister, Minister for Finance and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce.

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi received Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on 14th September at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In his welcome remarks, Foreign Minister Qureshi stated that Pakistan and Turkey have been brothers, friends and partners. The inseparable bonds of common faith, history, and culture have been reinforced by mutual trust and a sense of inter-dependence on critical issues. The Turkish Foreign Minister reiterated the “heart to heart” and “Two Countries, One Nation” relations between the two countries. He underlined that Pakistan will always have a special significance in Turkish Foreign Policy.

Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi led a high-level official delegation on his maiden foreign visit to Kabul on 15 September 2018. The Foreign Minister met Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and held delegation level talks with his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani. The Foreign Minister reiterated Pakistan’s support for the National Unity Government’s efforts to bring lasting peace in Afghanistan, on the basis of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and reconciliation.

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi received the British Home Secretary Sajid Javid at the Foreign Office on 17th September. The two sides discussed various areas of regional and bilateral cooperation, in particular regional security, counter terrorism, organized crime, migration, human trafficking, and money laundering and asset recovery.

A delegation of the UK Members of Parliament is currently visiting Pakistan. The delegation called on the Foreign Minister. They will visit AJK and will call upon the Prime Minister and the President of the AJK, where they will be apprised of the current situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir and on the LoC.

Now the floor is open for questions.

Question

Would you please share the details of the recent visit of the Foreign Minister to Kabul? Did Pakistan discuss the issue of Pakistan’s Consulate in Jalalabad? Secondly, has the Foreign Office taken any decision regarding Pakistan’s High Commissioner in the United Kingdom? (Mr. Mateen Haider – G TV)

Supplementary Question

Did Pakistan and Afghanistan reach any agreement on border management and counter terrorism during the Foreign Minister’s visit to Kabul? (Ms. Rashida Sial – Abb Tak)

Answer

We had a good discussion on this subject with the Afghan side. We are working with them to resolve the issue and hope that the consular services at the Consulate General in Jalalabad will be resumed soon. A meeting will be held under the auspices of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) in the second week of October in Pakistan. Please note that APAPPS is an all inclusive mechanism between the two countries which has five sub-groups, under which the two countries are in contact regarding various issues. During the October meeting of APAPPS all issues will be discussed between both sides.

Regarding the question pertaining to our High Commissioner in UK, as I informed you earlier the Foreign Minister personally called the High Commissioner to explain his position. I will share further details with you as I have them.

Question

Currently the Prime Minister is visiting Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – is there any likelihood that Pakistan will discuss the bailout package with the Saudi side? Secondly, is there any chance that the Prime Minister may attend the cricket match between Pakistan and India during his visit to the UAE? (Mr. Naveed Siddiqui – DAWN TV)

Answer

Both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are brotherly countries. The PM chose Saudi Arabia as his first foreign visit. This is a state visit. A detailed press release will be issued at the conclusion of the visit.

Regarding your second question, I don’t have any information yet. I will update you as soon as I get any confirmation.

Question

United States has imposed sanctions on Iran. The United States considers India an ally. Keeping in view Iran-India relations, reportedly, India may get waivers from the United States as far as the sanctions are concerned. What is Pakistan’s position regarding this? (Mr. Shamim – Online News Agency)

Answer

I will not comment on the bilateral relations of any other country.

The Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) represents a good example of negotiated settlement of a complex issue through dialogue and diplomacy. Unilateral withdrawal and arbitrary rescinding of the agreement, which was an outcome of a decade long effort of diplomats, would undermine the confidence of the international community in dialogue and diplomacy.

Question

Reportedly, the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has stated that India is ready to hold negotiation with Pakistan regarding the opening of Kartarpur Corridor but they are waiting for official communication from Pakistan. Has Pakistan communicated anything to India so far? Secondly, you may know that a meeting of FATF was held in Jakarta recently and a representative from Pakistan’s Foreign Office also attended that meeting. Please share the details of what was discussed in the meeting regarding Pakistan? (Mr. Anas Mallick – Wion TV)

Answer

Regarding your first question, so far no formal communication between the two countries has taken place.

As far as your second question is concerned, the matter pertains to the Ministry of Finance and you may refer to them.

Question

Please share the number of non-career diplomats serving in Pakistan Missions? Has any decision been taken regarding the non-career diplomats, especially Mr. Ali Jehangir Siddiqui – Pakistan’s Ambassador to US? (Syed Mohsin Raza – Daily Assas Publication)

Answer

The Foreign Minister has already stated that a decision about the non-career diplomats will not be taken in haste, but only after due consideration.

Question

Was the continuous cease fire violation by India on LOC and human rights violation in IOK by the Indian occupation forces discussed during the bilateral talks between Pakistan and Chinese FM?

Secondly, there are reports that the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and India may hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA. Have the two sides formally approached each other? (Mr. Shaukat Ali Paracha – Aaj TV)

Answer

During the talks with China, bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest were discussed. We keep our friends, particularly China appraised of the situation on the LoC and in Indian occupied Kashmir, as any escalation can have serious consequences for the whole region.

Regarding your second question, no decision has been taken so far. We are engaged in the matter.

Question

The British Home Secretary visited Pakistan and reportedly Pakistan discussed the issues of money laundering and asset recovery with him. You may have seen that in a similar case of Mr. Hussain Haqqani, former Ambassador of Pakistan to US, the US side had also given assurances to Pakistan but the US did not cooperate. Do you think UK will really cooperate with Pakistan regarding money laundering and asset recovery cases? (Mr. Aun Shirazi – Such TV)

Answer

The question pertains to the National Accountability Bureau. You may refer to them.

Question

Recently the Prime Minister has announced provision of citizenship to Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan since long. Was this discussed during the Foreign Minister’s visit to Kabul? Please confirm whether the Afghan refugees issue will be discussed during the next round of the APAPPS meeting in October 2018 and where will the meeting be held? (Ms. Rabia Peer – VoA)

Answer

As I said earlier, a meeting will be held under the auspices of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) in the second week of October in Pakistan. APAPPS is an all inclusive mechanism between the two countries which has five sub-groups, under which both sides are in contact regarding various issues including that pertaining to refugees.

Question

The British Home Secretary, during his recent visit to Pakistan, held talks on different issues especially on the war against terrorism. There are reports that an agreement has been reached between both the countries on the extradition treaty. Please confirm? (Mr. Khalid Azeem – Samaa TV)

Answer

The Extradition Treaty is the domain of the Ministry of Interior. Please refer to them.

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