(2016-03-17) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]
Assalaam Alaikum Distinguished friends!
We are all deeply saddened at the loss of precious lives of innocent people as a result of yesterday’s terrorist attack in Peshawar, which was condemned by all. We pray that Allah Almighty rest the victims in eternal peace, Ameen!
Today, the honourable President of Turkmenistan concluded his very important state visit to Pakistan, which he undertook on the invitation of the Prime Minister.
Pakistan passed the landmark Criminal Law (Amendment Bill) 2005 on Child Protection.
A young Pakistani girl Eiza Abid brought home joy and pride by winning the United Nations poster competition.
The domestic environment for foreign investment continued to grow attractive. Chairman Coca Cola Icecek of Turkey opened a bottling plant worth US$ 70 million in Multan last week and announced further investment of US$ 200 million in next 3 years.
The cricket fans of Pakistan rejoiced yesterday’s T20 World Cup match win.
Now the Floor is open for Questions
There are media reports that Pakistani diplomats were not given permission to visit Kolkata for the Pakistan-India cricket match in the T20 World Cup. Has the issue been resolved? (Asghar Ali Mubarak – Daily Mail Islamabad)
On this issue, we conveyed our disappointment to the Indian Deputy High Commissioner. I don’t know the exact status at this moment whether permission has been granted as yet. However, I think the issue will be resolved soon.
This is regarding Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Riyadh earlier next month. We have heard reports that Pakistan is very concerned on the issue and some officials described it as a “bomb shell” because there is an impression that India and Saudi Arabia are forging closer ties. Your comments. (Waqas Rafique – Capital TV)
As a matter of policy, we do not comment on bilateral relations between sovereign countries. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have brotherly relations which are deep-rooted and timeless.
According to ex-CIA Chief Robert Grener’s book ’88 Days to Kandahar’ and other such accounts, intelligence agencies of a number of countries are playing their dirty games in Afghanistan and Mr. Hamid Karzai is among the beneficiaries, which is keeping Afghanistan de-stabilised. But Pakistan’s ISI is the only one blamed for everything because our counter-narrative is missing. Why?
Secondly, India has expressed concern over the presence of PLA troops in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Can you confirm? (Fakhar-ur-Rehman – Turkish News Agency)
Regarding your second question, I will not comment on media reports. However, we totally reject baseless rumor-mongering about the presence of PLA (Peoples Liberation Army, China) troops in AJK. You may have seen the Chinese Spokesperson’s statement also who has refuted these reports.
On your first question, for more than three decades, Afghanistan has been in turmoil that has created a vacuum. Afghan people have suffered a lot and they deserve to have peace, stability and prosperity. People of Pakistan have special consideration, love and affection for the fraternal Afghan people. Pakistan believes in Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process and sincerely wishes to extend all support to assist Afghan Government and its people to that end. Pakistan’s whole-hearted participation in QCG, Heart of Asia and other processes is a clear manifestation of our keen desire to see peace in Afghanistan. We will continue to play a positive role with regard to efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan. It’s time for introspection for those indulging in blame game.
We know Adviser Sartaj Aziz is going to meet SAARC Foreign Ministers in Nepal. Will there be an exclusive meeting between the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers, and is it expected to lead to any thaw in relations? Is this meeting going to facilitate and prepare for the forthcoming meeting between the two Prime Ministers during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC? (Saad Umer – Weekly Pakistani)
The Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs is in Nepal to attend SAARC Foreign Ministers meeting. On the sidelines of the SAARC meeting, the Adviser will meet the Indian External Affairs Minister as well as his other SAARC Counterparts to extend Prime Minister’s formal invitation for the 19th SAARC Summit for their respective Heads of State/Heads of Government. In the bilateral meeting between the two Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the SAARC meeting, issues of mutual interest may come up for discussions.
However, the possibility of a meeting between the two Prime Ministers on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC is not linked to the outcome of the bilateral meeting between the two Foreign Ministers in Nepal. I would like to add here that as of now there is no firm proposal for a bilateral meeting of the two Prime Ministers in Washington DC, though usually such meetings do take place on the sidelines of summits.
Regarding the terrorist attack in Peshawar and previous such attacks, those who carried out such attacks then returned to Afghanistan, out of reach of the Pakistan law enforcements agencies. Pakistan has taken up this issue with Afghanistan through diplomatic channels for concrete actions against terrorists hiding in Afghanistan. My question is whether there has been any response from the Afghan authorities regarding these wanted terrorists- I have heard a long list has been submitted to the Afghan Government in this regard. Is the Afghan Government also neutralizing the hideouts and safe havens of these terrorists? (Mateen Haider – Dawn News)
There are mechanisms in place between the two governments regarding security related matters as well as terrorism. Under these mechanisms, there are consultations, coordination and collaboration in these areas. In addition, all bilateral issues are discussed whenever such meetings take place.
US officials have been leveling allegations against Pakistan not doing enough against all extremist groups, publically. They also raise the issue of Haqqani Network. Don’t they realize that safe havens are actually present in Afghanistan? How Pakistan and the US can come up with a Joint Statement stating harmony of views on these issues, when actually they are not on the same page regarding root of the problem? (Shaukat Paracha – Aaj TV)
There is national consensus that terrorism must be fought with absolute resolve and decisively. Pakistan is the biggest victim of terrorism. Unlike some elements in other states, all institutions and segments of the society remain united in Pakistan’s firm, indiscriminate and unequivocal drive against terrorism. We have reiterated it many times that Pakistan does not distinguish and discriminate between terrorists.
JNU Professor Nivedita Menon recently remarked that India is illegally occupying Kashmir. She also declared India rule in North eastern States as illegal. What are your comments?
My second question is regarding Pakistani nationals in Saudi Arabia. We have learnt through social media that Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia are having difficulty in changing Kafeels (sponsors) and others are being repatriated back to Pakistan after taking huge amount of money from them. What is our Embassy in Saudi Arabia doing to help such Pakistanis? (Fida Hussain – Radio News Network)
Regarding your second question, we usually do not comment on media reports. However, I have noted this particular issue and will get details in this regard. Kindly note that every country has unique immigration laws which have to be adhered to by foreigners working in that country. It is the duty of all Pakistanis to abide by such rules and procedures.
On your first question, the Kashmir dispute is a longstanding item on the UN agenda. There are numerous UN Security Council resolutions, which declare that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir would be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.
Some segments in the Indian Intelligentsia have vociferously opposed the illegal Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, several other writers and intellectuals had also expressed similar views about the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir and blatant human rights violations by the Indian security forces in IOK.
When will the 5th QCG meeting be held and where? (Sheeba – Daily SAMAA)
Pakistan’s efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan are apparent to the whole world; however, Mr. Hamid Karzai has been casting aspersions on Pakistan’s intentions during the recent visit to India. Will his statement adversely affect the peace process?
During the 4th QCG meeting held in Kabul on 23 February 2016, it was decided to preferably hold the next QCG meeting after the first round of direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban. Pakistan’s offer to host the first round of direct talks was welcomed by the other three members of QCG.
Regarding the other question, we are aware of the negative sentiments spread against Pakistan, which is regrettable. Pakistan has a vital stake in peace, stability and development in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister has enunciated a vision of “comprehensive and enduring partnership” with Afghanistan that contributes to the security and prosperity of our two nations and reinforces efforts for peace and development in the region. We are committed to that vision. An inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process remains indispensable for sustainable peace.
Recently, Russia announced that they will pull out troops from Syria. Secondly, Secretary Kerry has said that Daesh has lost 3000 sq km of area and 600 fighters last month. Do you think that Russia has achieved its goals in Syria?
The next part of my question relates to Gilgit-Baltistan. There have been reports that government has been acquiring land for CPEC from owners without paying adequate compensation. Your comments. (Anwar Abbas – Waqat News)
Regarding your second question, we do not comment on media reports and regarding CPEC you may like to contact Planning Division.
On the first part of your question, let me state Pakistan’s principled policy on Syria. Pakistan’s principled position is based on respect for Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. We believe that the Syrian Government and opposition groups should exercise restraint and resolve their differences peacefully. Pakistan supports all such initiatives which facilitate a Syrian-led and inclusive solution that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people through comprehensive political dialogue.
Do you have any update on the dates of the Iranian President’s visit to Pakistan? (Tariq Siyal – Daily Times)
As I have stated in my earlier weekly briefing, we are contemplating the visit of Iranian President to Pakistan and as soon as the dates are firmed up, we will make the announcement.
As announced earlier, Pakistan was facilitating a meeting between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Islamabad. However, recent media reports suggest that the Taliban have rejected Pakistan’s suggestions in this regard. Do you have anything to say on this? (Ishtiaq Ahmed – VOA)
Efforts by the QCG countries are continuing for facilitating talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban. As I mentioned earlier, this facilitation is a shared responsibility of all QCG countries.
Last modified: November 22, 2019
Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world.