July 16, 2015| Media Briefing|
(2015-07-16) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]
10 July 2015: New Epoch of Pakistan’s Diplomacy
A detailed statement about the Prime Minister’s visit to Ufa and his engagements there was made by the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs during press briefing on 13 July 2015. A Press Release was issued by the Ministry regarding briefing provided by the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi to the Ambassadors of P-5 countries, EU, and Deans from various regions including Ambassadors of Argentina, Kazakhstan, Romania, Bangladesh, Thailand and Egypt, on the visit of the Prime Minister to Ufa on 9-10 July 2015.
My intention is not to repeat what has already been stated. However, it is important to underscore the significance of July 10 from the standpoint of achievement of Pakistan’s national interest.
July 10 signified new epoch of Pakistan’s diplomacy. The day was marked by the following noteworthy developments:
– Momentous decision of the SCO leadership to admit Pakistan as a member of this prestigious Organization. It will enable Pakistan to build on the substantive contribution for regional peace, security and development which it has made as Observer of SCO.
– Ground-breaking bilateral meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The two countries are deeply engaged in efforts to finalize projects that will not only further strengthen bilateral relations but also play a pivotal role in resolving the energy and power crisis in Pakistan.
– Prime Minister’s bilateral meeting with the President of China that served to reinforce the commitment of both sides to the early implementation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Projects.
– Prime Minister’s bilateral meeting with President of Afghanistan that enabled both sides to review progress made during peace talks hosted by Pakistan on 7 July and reaffirm commitment to the Afghan-led and Afghan owned-peace and reconciliation process.
– Prime Minister’s bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of India that resulted in a number of agreed decisions to ease tension between the two countries and create the conditions for them to engage in sustained dialogue to resolve all their outstanding issues.
The achievements on 10 July were a befitting culmination to:
i. The policy of good-neighbourly relations pursued by Pakistan as part of the Prime Minister’s vision for the region; and
ii. The Government’s agenda of peace and security in the region through resolution of disputes, while promoting connectivity, development and prosperity for the people of Pakistan and the region.
The Floor is open for Questions
Yesterday, at Iftar dinner, Indian High Commissioner was asked about the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and his reply was that India will talk to Pakistan on the issue of “Pakistan Occupied Kashmir”. Do you think it is a negation of Ufa summit where the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan committed that both countries will talk to resolve all outstanding issues including Kashmir, which was not mentioned in the communique? Don’t you think that it is a cunning maneuver by the Indian side? (Zarghoon Shah- GEO TV)
Kashmir is a disputed territory. There are UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir. It is India which is occupying Kashmir in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. Unilateral measures make no difference to the disputed status of Kashmir. You have rightly pointed out that in Ufa both leaders had agreed that ensuring peace and development was the collective responsibility of both sides. To do so, both sides were prepared to discuss all outstanding issues, which include Kashmir.
Syed Ali Geelani has expressed his displeasure on the fact that Pakistan did not properly project the Kashmir issue. Secondly, what impact will the recent the nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1 countries have on South Asia? What will be the status of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline now? (Khawaja Nayyer Iqbal – Kashmir post)
During his briefing on 13 July 2015, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs had underscored that all outstanding issues including Kashmir were discussed during the meeting between the two Prime Ministers in Ufa. He had also said that there will be no dialogue if Kashmir is not included.
We have welcomed nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1. It would have positive impact on the gas pipeline project from Iran and offer opportunities for further enhancing economic cooperation with Iran.
Do you think these recent violations on the Line of Control and Working Boundary will adversely impact the positive atmosphere created between Pakistan and India? Do you think it will diminish the chances of future meetings/contacts between Pakistan and India, such as the meeting between the two National Security Advisers?(Mateen Haider- Dawn News)
Unprovoked ceasefire violations by India at the LoC and Working Boundary are against the spirit of the understandings reached in Ufa. Peace and tranquility on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary is in the interest of both sides.
Ceasefire violations by India at the LoC and Working Boundary have taken place in the past as well. However, Pakistan did not turn away from discussing outstanding issues with India.
As you know Mullah Omar released a message in which he endorsed peace talks with the Afghan Government. But there is no message or statement from the Haqqani network. Do you think the peace talks will have a lasting impact if only one faction of Taliban is involved in the peace talks?
Secondly, as you know Foreign Secretary level talks between Pakistan and India were canceled due to Pakistan High Commissioner’s meeting with Hurriyat leadership. Is there any agreement between the two sides now that there would be no such meeting will take place or is there any surety from India that they will not cancel such dialogue again on a lame excuse? (Shabbier Waghra- PTV World)
You would recall that after the peace talks held in Islamabad on 7 July 2015, we had said that both the delegations were mandated by their respective leaders to participate in the talks. I cannot add anything to that.
There is no agreement between the two sides that our High Commissioner in India will not meet with Kashmiri leaders. Meetings with them is a longstanding practice and it will continue.
Ufa meeting between the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India is still fresh as references are made to it. My question is also in that context. The last paragraph provides that there will be an exchange of additional information and voice samples. What additional information is now required by Pakistan or India? Whose voice sample will be exchanged?
Secondly, we saw little bit of easing of tensions after Ufa joint press release but now it is back to the same situation. What is going to be the guiding principle for steering the relationship forward? (Shaukat Paracha- AAJ TV)
As to the additional information on Mumbai trial, our view has been, and was so during the meeting between the two Prime Ministers, that we need more evidence and information to conclude the trial. The reference to the additional information in the joint press release is recognition of the need that more information is required to expedite and conclude this trial. Voice sample from the Indian side will be helpful for the trial in Pakistan as the trial in India has already concluded.
As I said a short while ago, unprovoked ceasefire violations by India at the LoC and Working Boundary are against the spirit of the understandings reached in Ufa. However, despite that both sides have been meeting from time to time to discuss all disputes and issues including Kashmir.
Is there any binding effect of Ufa joint statement on Pakistan and India?
Secondly, does it bar any country from raising any issue other than at bilateral level or any international fora? (Fakhar-ur-Rehman- Dunya News)
The joint press release reflects the decisions taken by the two Prime Ministers. When leaders decide something, it is taken seriously. Both sides have agreed in the joint press release to discuss all outstanding issues. However, there are UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir’s disputed status. The UN, as you know, is a multilateral organization. Therefore, there is no bar on raising Kashmir issue at international fora.
You have referred to the groundbreaking meeting between President Putin and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and that the two sides are finalizing some projects to overcome the energy crisis. What exactly does it mean? Is Russia helping us in setting up power plants, some gas related projects, some nuclear plants? Also, anything about my last week’s question of a Pakistani missing in Dubai (Shahid-ur-Rehman – Japanese News Agency)
I do not have details of the projects that are under consideration between the two sides. However, Russia is interested in South-North gas pipeline project. As you are aware, Pakistan and Russia have a history of cooperation in the field of power generation. We are interested in exploring possibilities of cooperation with Russia in all fields of mutual interest.
As to your second question, we did go back to our Consulate General in Dubai and our Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Let me underscore that the Consulate General of Pakistan in Dubai took notice of this case even before the petitioner (father of the missing person) approached them. Eversince, the Embassy of Pakistan in Abu Dhabi and our Consulate General in Dubai have been vigorously pursuing the case. Both Missions are in contact with the concerned UAE authorities and are making efforts for the recovery of Mr. Umar Mateen.
I want to ask question about 3000 Pakistanis who are stranded in Thailand. There are reports that 150 of them have been detained by Thai authorities. (Anwar Abbass-Waqt News)
Let me assure you that our Embassies abroad are equally concerned about the welfare of Pakistanis as this is part of their duties. However, according to my experience, in most of the cases that are mentioned during briefing, details are lacking. Questions are mostly asked on the basis of reports. It would be helpful to our Embassies if concrete details are provided about the Pakistanis who need their assistance.
Yesterday, the Sikh community in London staged a very strong protest. According to them, thousands of Sikhs have been languishing in Indian jails for more than 20 years. Nobody is taking care of them. Indian media also suppresses reports about them. My question is that the Prime Minister is going to participate in the upcoming session of UN General Assembly. Usually, we highlight the two issues of Kashmir and Palestine but this time the issue of Rohingya Muslims will also be raised. Do you think that the speech of the Prime Minister will contain reference to these Sikhs?( Syed Mohsin Raza-Sach TV)
Speech of the Prime Minister for UNGA is being worked on. It is, therefore, not possible for me to comment on it. However, in case of violation of human rights, anyone can turn to the Human Rights Council located in Geneva.
Any update on Mr. Zahid Hamid? Secondly, since no official statement was issued after the meeting of Prime Minister of Pakistan with the King of Saudi Arabia, would you like to give us some more details regarding the issues that came under discussion?(Mateen Haider Dawn News)
Our request regarding consular access to Mr. Zaid Hamid is still under consideration of the Saudi authorities. In order to expedite the matter, we have also requested assistance of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Islamabad.
As far as the Prime Minister’s meeting with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz is concerned, you know that the Prime Minister is in Saudi Arabia primarily for religious purposes. However, keeping in view the exemplary relations between the two countries, the King invited Prime Minister to Iftar on 12 July. During the meeting, Prime Minister offered condolences on the sad demise of Prince Saud Al Faisal. Both sides highlighted the close nature of bilateral relations, discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation and regional and international issues of mutual interest. Prime Minister lauded the Kingdom’s services for the two Holy Mosques.
When will the National Security Advisers of India and Pakistan meet in New Delhi? (Amjad Ali PTV)
As of now, I do not have dates for their meeting.
Last modified: November 22, 2019
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