Media Briefing|

(2013-07-11)

[This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated] [The weekly press briefing was preceded by a post-China-visit briefing by the Minister for Planning and Development, Mr Ahsan Iqbal, and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for foreign affairs, Mr. Tariq Fatemi. They highlighted the salient outcomes of the visit and the follow-up in hand to promote Pakistan-China cooperation with particular reference to the economic and energy projects.

The floor was then opened for questions for weekly press briefing by the Spokesperson.]

Question
The government has ordered an inquiry on Abbottabad Commission report. What inquiry has been ordered? It is an enquiry as to why the report was leaked or it is an inquiry on something else?

Answer
I am not in a position to answer this question since Foreign Ministry is not handling this matter.

Question
There are reports that Doha office has been closed. Don’t you think that it is a setback to peace and reconciliation process with Taliban?

Answer
Peace and reconciliation is the only way forward to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan. There will be challenges like the one you are referring to, but we need patience and perseverance in the larger interest of peace in Afghanistan. All stakeholders in the Afghan peace process would need to engage constructively.

Question
The Abbottabad Commission Report has noted that US Embassy compromised the diplomatic norms and traditions. It also said that officials must take up this matter with US Embassy to prevent its further penetration into the society. Has Foreign Office taken up this matter?

Answer
We are already engaged with US government on several issues of mutual concern. As regards this particular report that you are referring to, we have not initiated any action as we are not handling this report.

Question
Can you update us on civil nuclear cooperation between China and Pakistan?

Secondly, we have seen good gestures both from India and Pakistan to work together but there are no invitations so far to resume the dialogue process. What are your comments?

Answer
Civil nuclear cooperation is an area of ongoing cooperation between China and Pakistan. It is exclusively for peaceful purposes, fully covered under IAEA safeguards, and does not violate our respective international obligations.

As for your second question, the government has given clear signals that it wants good neighborly relations with India. The Minister for External Affairs of India and Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan recently met in Brunei on the sidelines of the ARF. The meeting was cordial and positive. Pakistan would welcome resumption of the dialogue process. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is expected to address UN General Assembly in September, and in case an opportunity arises, Pakistan side will be willing to engage with India at the leadership level to improve bilateral relations.

Question
What are the total estimates of the recent agreements with China? What will be the contribution from either country in those agreements?

Secondly, how will Pakistan look at the situation of 30 detainees who have completed their sentence in Indian Prisons?

Answer
As indicated by the Minister in his briefing, actions have been initiated to prepare feasibility reports of various projects and work out other details. The leadership has agreed on the vision; the experts from both countries will now address details to help implement the vision.

As for your question about Pakistani prisoners in India, there are a number of mechanisms like Judicial Committee, bilateral channels that deal with this matter. Recently, the lists of prisoners in each other’s jails were also exchanged between Pakistan and India on 1st July 2013. Our High Commission takes up and then pursues the matter of all Pakistani prisoners. We also try to expedite the necessary documentation so that there is no delay in repatriation of those Pakistani prisoners who have completed their term.

Question
Afghanistan continues to accuse Pakistan of instigating insurgency in the province of Nangrahar. What is the stance of Pakistan on this issue?

Secondly, the situation in Egypt is becoming worst. What is the update on Pakistanis living in Egypt and how Foreign Office is dealing this issue?

Answer
On you second question,Pakistan and Egypt enjoy close friendly relations based on strong bonds of fraternity and mutual respect. We are saddened at the recent violence and loss of innocent lives in Egypt. We hope that the government and people of Egypt will be able to deal with the present challenge in a manner that ensures respect for democracy and the democratic institutions.

We are in contact with our Ambassador in Egypt, who is keeping close contact with Pakistanis living in Egypt.

On Afghanistan, we have seen a series of allegations leveled by Afghan leaders and officials as reported in the media. Pakistan has responded to some allegations but we generally exercise restraint to avoid tensions in our relations with Afghanistan. Pakistan wants to see peace and stability in Afghanistan. We are sincere in our approach and our efforts, and we hope that our sincerity will be reciprocated. Our leadership, all state institutions and the people of Pakistan want to see a united, prosperous and stable Afghanistan.

Question
Has there been any support from China on Pakistan’s stance on drone strikes?

Answer
Pakistan and China have stood by each other on issues of concern to each other. As for China’s stance on drone strikes, Chinese government will be in the best position to answer. However, I can say that the Chinese government has always voiced its support for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan.

Question
Has China offered its help to fight polio in Pakistan? What do you think China can offer that these UN agencies and Gates Foundation could not? Is there something specific that they have offered?

Answer
Polio is a challenge that we are dealing with through national efforts and with the cooperation of relevant international partners. We value our cooperation with the World Health Organization and other organizations within and outside the UN system. The Government of Pakistan is fully committed to eradicate Polio, and is ready to work with all relevant international partners, including China.

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