Media Briefing|

(2017-10-13) Opening Remarks

Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum

This week has been quite eventful on the foreign relations front. We have been issuing press releases on several activities related to this Ministry. The Foreign Secretary visited Russia to lead the Pakistan delegation to the meeting of SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan. She also held bilateral meetings with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Igor Morgulov and Russian President’s Special Representative on Afghanistan Ambassador Zamir Kabulov. 8th meeting of Pakistan-EU Joint Commission was held in Brussels. High level US delegation visited Pakistan in a follow-up of the meeting between our Prime Minister and US Vice President Mike Pence. Earlier, Foreign Minister held meetings with US Secretary of State and NSA during his visit to Washington last week. The meeting with US delegation was very constructive and both sides agreed to continue engagement at all levels.

In Indian occupied Kashmir, brutal killing of Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces continues. In last 4 days, reportedly, 7 Kashmiri youth [including Zahid Ahmad Mir son of Shamim Ahmad of Gunapora Shopia, 20 year old Asif Ahmad Khandy Pal of Kathokalan, and 24 year Irfan Ahmad Ganai son of Muhammad Abdullah Ganai, MA History student of Heff village of Shopian, Umar Khalid Rafiabad, Nasrullah Mir son of Nazir Ahmad Mir, resident of Hajin Bandipore in Shopian] have been martyred. We condemn Indian atrocities in IoK against innocent Kashmiris and urge Int’l Community to act now to stop Kashmiris’ bloodshed and call India to account for the heinous crimes being committed by its occupation forces in IoK. We also urge sending of a Fact-Finding Mission to IoK as demanded by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Council, OIC Contact Group on Kashmir, OIC’s IPHRC and Parliamentarians and members of civil society from across the globe.

Pakistan has been effectively raising the issue of Kashmir at International Forums. The FS briefed the US delegation on HR violations in IoK. Our Permanent Representatives in UN New York and UN Geneva have been persistently raising the issue of Kashmir. Pakistan’s Envoys have been sensitizing the International Community on grave human rights situation in IoK. We have highlighted Indian brutal use of pellet guns against unprotected Kashmiri people that has left a generation of young Kashmiris blinded and maimed for life. This has been aptly described as the ‘first mass blinding in human history’.

Our PRs have emphasized that human rights violations in IOK must not go unnoticed and silence on account of political and economic expediency is a manifestation of double standards. They underlined that it would also damage the credibility of the proponents of human rights and defeats the purpose for which Human Rights bodies were created. We expect the international community to stand resolutely with the helpless Kashmiri women and children and forcefully call India to end its persistent, systematic human rights violations in IoK.

Kashmir dispute is among the oldest items on the UN agenda. Non-resolution of this dispute by the UN has encouraged India to prevent the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir, through force and fraud, from ‘exercising their fundamental and inalienable right to self-determination’. Indian deployment of 700,000 Indian troops in occupied Kashmir to suppress the legitimate freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people, is a blatant violation of the UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir.

People of J&K look towards international community & are waiting for the UN to fulfill its promise of holding a UN supervised Plebiscite to enable them to determine their political destiny.

Now the Floor is open for Questions

Question

In IoK, India continues to indulge in propaganda to discredit the indigenous struggle for realizing Kashmiri right to self-determination and keeps maligning Pakistan. How does Pakistan intends to counter it? (Asghar Ali Mubarak – Daily Mail Islamabad)

Answer

The movement for self-determination in IoK is indigenous. Indian propaganda of infiltration from across LoC to malign Pakistan and equate Kashmiris’ movement for self-determination with terrorism was exposed when thousands of unnamed and unmarked ‘Mass Graves’ were discovered in 2009 in IoK. The discovery of mass graves also established Indian crimes of killing Kashmiris of IoK in fake encounters by calling them infiltrators. Incidents of Maachil in 2010 and Chattisinghpura in March 2000 are a testimony of Indian lies and crimes its forces have committed.

Question

US has expressed gratitude on the safe rescue of its abducted couple from Afghanistan and has termed this a positive moment in Pakistan-US relations. How do you see this statement? Do we expect any more cooperation between the two countries in this regard in the future? (Ishtiaq Ahmad – VOA)

Supplementary Questions

Can you provide details of the abducted family recently recovered by Pakistani security agencies as we have heard much less about them in the Pakistani media? Moreover, has Pakistan received any formal appreciation from US officials or the Trump Administration in this regard? (Syed Mohsin Raza – Asas Group of Publications)

Do you have any updates on the whereabouts of the Canadian couple? Have they left Pakistan? (Munir Ahmad – AP)

Can you give the details of the abductors of the Canadian couple? Were they Haqqanis? How many terrorists were killed during the operation? (Naveed Saddique – Dawn News)

Answer

All four questions deal with the matter of the recovered couple. The issue has been dealt with by ISPR. ISPR has issued a Press Release after the successful operation. The operation was carried out on the basis of actionable intelligence provided by the United States. For further information, please refer your queries to ISPR.

Question

How do you comment on the essence of the recent US Inter-agency delegation’s visit to Pakistan, particularly when the hawkish elements in US media are suggesting that the US would be sending tough messages for Pakistan?

Second, Pakistan has been contributing substantially in the war against terror. In the case of recovery of the abducted foreigner couple, is Pakistan honoring US desire to ‘do more’? (Shaukat Paracha – Aaj TV)

Supplementary Questions

With US remaining focused on giving India bigger role in Afghanistan and Gen. Mattis issuing harsh messages for Pakistan, what good visits from US will do in mending fences? (Tariq Mahmood – SAMAA TV)

Reportedly, United States wants Pakistan to help it in winning the prolonged war in Afghanistan as the dialogue process has been resumed between the two countries. What kind of cooperation has US specifically asked for this time? How will Pakistan negotiate its position? (Saad Umer – Rose TV)

Are we expecting more visits from the US, particularly those of US Secretary of State and Defence Secretary? (Ali Hussain – Business Recorder)

Answer

Responding to Paracha Sb, your first question pertains to media reports, on which we do not comment. You also asked about the essence of the visit, and Pakistan’s efforts in counter-terrorism. US delegation’s visit to Pakistan was a follow-up to the meeting between the Prime Minister and US Vice President Mike Pence in New York last month. This was an interagency delegation, comprising senior officials from the US National Security Council, State Department and Department of Defence. These interactions are in line with the mutual desire from the two sides to remain engaged at various levels to discuss bilateral relations as well as the regional situation.

The meeting with the US delegation was constructive and fruitful. The discussions focused on of bilateral relations in diverse fields, regional security situation including Afghanistan and Pak-US cooperation in the regional context. Terrorism is a common enemy; all countries need to work together and cooperate with each other to eradicate this menace.

As regards Mr. Tariq Mahmood’s question, as I said the meeting with the US delegation was constructive and fruitful. As regards your question pertaining to Indian role in Afghanistan, Pakistan has been very clear that an expanded Indian role in Afghanistan would not be in the interest of regional stability. Pakistan has raised this issue at all relevant forums, that it has credible evidence of India’s involvement in engaging and using terrorist outfits in Afghanistan against Pakistan. Pakistan has also emphasized on the need for an Afghan led and Afghan owned political process to resolve the Afghan conflict. We will continue to underscore this position with the US side in the future engagements.

On Mr. Saad Umar’s question, Pakistan’s position in the context of bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan is well known. Pakistan has played its due role in all Afghan owned and Afghan led peace initiatives aimed at achieving stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan and the US have been partners for long and have converging interest in Afghanistan’s security. We are also engaged with regional countries in this regard. Yesterday’s meeting was helpful in developing understanding towards cooperative efforts. Further interactions will be helpful in providing direction in this regard. Both sides are preparing ground for working on the specifics for future cooperation in wake of the US strategy on Afghanistan.

Regarding Mr. Ali Hussain’s question, I cannot say when and who will be coming, but it was agreed that both sides will remain engaged at all levels.

Question

Foreign Minister, during a recent interview to US Institute of Peace in Washington, has said that Pakistan will take action against Haqqanis and other terrorist groups with the help of US. Can you confirm this development? (Tariq Sial – Morning Daily)

Answer

His statement should be seen in the context that terrorism is a common enemy and requires cooperation from all countries of the world. Pakistan is prepared to take action on the basis of actionable intelligence sharing and effective cooperation in CT efforts. Recent example of such cooperation is the successful recovery of a Western couple and their children from the captivity of the terrorists. Our counter-terrorism operations Zarb-ul-Azb, Radd-ul-Fasad and Khyber Operation have already reaped successes in the fight against terrorism.

Question

You have talked about US delegation’s visit to Pakistan, situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s position on it. Earlier, we have seen that whenever Pakistan initiated any peace initiative aimed at bringing peace in Afghanistan, it was derailed one way or the other. Now again, we have heard reports that the 6th meeting of the QCG process will take place in Oman on 16th October. Did you have any discussion with the US delegation on QCG?

Second, how will Pakistan’s act of helping recover abducted couple assist in the revival of QCG process? (Faisal Raza Khan – 92 News)

Answer

In terms of the recovery of abducted couple, or of regional situation in general, what you need to look at is the context of situation in Afghanistan. This is what is being discussed at various international forums, within regional countries, and also between Pakistan and the US.

Our position on Afghanistan is principled and very clear. Pakistan has participated in all initiatives that are Afghan-owned and Afghan-led, and are aimed at bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. We have played our part in this regard, and will continue to do so in the future, whenever requested, be it QCG, Heart of Asia, or any other process. As regards QCG, the objective is to bring the warring factions within Afghanistan to the negotiating table. It is upon all members of QCG to meet and decide on how to move forward in this context.

Question

Indian Intelligence agency RAW’s former Chief said that India has created a “mess” in IoK. Amnesty International published a report and media has constantly reported on Human Rights violations in IoK, even then European Union held summit with India and said nothing! Why? Will Pakistan take up this matter with the European Union?

Second, Indian Air Force Chief has also joined Indian Army Chief and BJP leaders in war mongering against Pakistan and China, even threatening to attack nuclear installations. Will Pakistan consult China and also broach matter with the UNSC? (Amjad Ali – PTV News)

Supplementary Question

When the European Union interacts with Pakistan next, will you allow them to have Human Rights issues on the agenda?

Answer

Regarding Mr. Amjad’s first question, we continue to take up the matter with the EU. Indian atrocities in IoK and gross violation of human rights of innocent Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces are globally known and have been condemned by the true proponents and protectors of human rights, including increasingly by many in India itself.

Pakistan has persistently highlighted the plight of hapless Kashmiris in IoK and called for an immediate halt to their bloodshed. The Prime Minister’s address during the UNGA sessions in 2015, 2016 and 2017 contained strong references on Kashmir. Our Permanent Representatives at New York and UN Geneva have also constantly raised Kashmir issue during the UNGA and UN Human Rights Council sessions. Our Parliament has been actively raising voice over Indian barbarity in IoK and adopted several resolutions condemning India. OIC has taken up this issue on every occasion. OIC Contact Group on J&K has also been forceful in voicing its concern over the plight of Kashmiris and has demanded sending of a fact-finding mission to IoK. OIC’s Independent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) visited AJ&K and met with the bereaved families of the victims in IoK. They have compiled their report that amply reflects on the sufferings of Kashmiris and Indian brutalities. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Australian and British Parliamentarians and members of the civil society across the globe have raised voice for Kashmiris and called for sending fact-finding missions to IoK. Expeditious resolution of the J&K dispute, in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people is an imperative and UN has a responsibility to that end.

Regarding your second question, statements such as the one by Indian Air Force Chief, reflect belligerent, irresponsible mindset of India that is against basic norms of inter-state conduct. Pakistan is taking all necessary steps to counter Indian irresponsible attitude. Let me assure you and India that it will be given an appropriate and befitting response in case of any brinkmanship.

On Mr. Shabbir’s question, escalation of Indian atrocities in IoK and the silence of the international community at the gross human rights violations of Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces is a cause of serious concern. We need to ensure that respect for human rights is effectively and equitably implemented and not selectively allowed to take a backseat to political / economic expediencies, otherwise Human Rights shall be reduced to a verbal sham. The EU, which considers itself the custodian of global human rights needs to take a principled and proactive stance against the Indian atrocities being perpetrated against innocent Kashmiris in IoK. They owe it to the Kashmiri people.

Question

With Justice Tasadduq Hussain’s appointment as Ad-hoc judge in the Kulbushan Jhadav case, how effectively will Pakistan be able to plead its case in ICJ?(Rashida Sial – Ab Takk)

Answer

Please refer your query to the office of the Attorney General, which is the relevant quarter in this case.

Question

Recently, there were reports that some miscreants entered Balochistan from Iranian soil, and martyred Army personnel deputed in the region. Since Kulbushan Jhadav was also active in the same area in Iran, has Pakistan taken up this issue with Iranian authorities? (Yasir Baloch – Daily Rahbar)

Answer

We have institutionalized mechanisms in place with Iran, wherein all issues related to border management and issues of bilateral and regional interest and concern are taken up by both sides.

Question

Indian obsession with Pakistan is visible in Indian FMs personal role in visas for patients from Pakistan. What could be the purpose of Indian FM’s game? (Saima Shabbir – Bol News)

Answer

At the state level India is involved in perpetrating terrorism, terror financing and subversive activities in Pakistan. At LoC, India lies about infiltration to carry out fake encounters against indigenous Kashmiris of IoK, malign Pakistan, discredit the indigenous self-determination movement and to divert world attention from grave human rights violations Indian troops ruthlessly commit in IoK against defenseless Kashmiris.

Indian state machinery remains engaged in propaganda business, main target of which is Pakistan. Indian EAM also, as part of Indian propaganda policy, is not seen interested in any other country’s patients but Pakistan’s. MEA picks one odd case for the purpose of cheap publicity and to create false impression of being humanitarian. Such gestures reek of political posturing and not humanitarian impulse.

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