Media Briefing|

(2015-06-18) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]

Opening Remarks

Completion of One Year of Operation Zarb-e-Azb

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to convey it heartiest felicitations to the Armed Forces of Pakistan on the completion of one year of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. It has achieved resounding success in eliminating terrorism.

The Ministry wishes to pay tribute to the martyrs and express profound gratitude to those families whose loved ones have laid down their lives while serving the nation and securing its future.

Since the inception of the Operation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Missions abroad have been highlighting the Operation as a manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching commitment to combating terrorism.

The international community is deeply appreciative of the sacrifices given by the people of Pakistan in this regard and the contribution made by them in making the world a safer and a better place.

Felicitations on Commencement of Ramazan

The holy month of Ramazan will be commencing from 19 June. Let me congratulate you in this regard. May Allah Almighty shower his blessings on all of you, your families, the people of Pakistan and Muslims all over the world during Ramazan.

The Floor is open for Questions

Question

On the one side, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accepts Indian involvement in separation of East Pakistan and, on the other, he congratulates Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Ramzan. How does Pakistan look at this contradiction in the policy of India and how Pakistan sees the future of dialogue process between the two countries which has been going on for many decades? (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal- Kashmir Post)

Answer

Prime Minister’s Office has issued a Press Release on the telephonic conversation between the two leaders. Pakistan wishes to have good relations with all countries in the region. We want to promote peace and development in the region. Pakistan, therefore, would welcome any proposal from India that supports these objectives.

Question

Since the inception of tensions between the two neighbours, Pakistan has been pleading to the international community to play a role in reducing tensions. Now US Secretary of State John Kerry has intervened. UN has also spoken this morning for easing tension between the two countries and urged both sides to take specific steps. What does Pakistan expect from India and what steps need to be taken to ease tensions?

Secondly, you referred to a statement by Prime Minister House which was issued on the telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the US Secretary of State John Kerry. Why are we shy of talking to the media regarding this subject that, later on, John Kerry had to speak about it himself? (Shaukat Paracha- Aaj TV)

Answer

Pakistan has not pleaded with anyone. However, it is our firm belief that normalization of relations between Pakistan and India is key to peace and development in the region. As far as Pakistan is concerned, we are committed to good neighborly relations. As to the specific steps, you are aware that there are disputes and serious issues between Pakistan and India that need to be resolved through dialogue. We would, therefore, welcome any steps from India that would help promote peace in the region and improve bilateral relations.

Regarding your second question, you must have noted that the statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on telephonic conversation between the Prime Minister and the US Secretary of State also referred to “their warm and friendly exchanges on the regional situation”. I wish to underscore that escalation has its implications for the entire region and not just the two countries. Peace in this region is also important for the world.

Question

My question relates to Pakistan-India relations. During the recent telephonic conversation between the two Prime Ministers, the Indian Prime Minister offered to release fishermen. How many fishermen have been released by India and Pakistan so far? (Fayyaz Chaudhry- APP)

Answer

Decision has been made by both the leaders to release each other’s fishermen. However, it takes a while to complete some formalities. I, therefore, do not have the details right now.

Question

Do you think that the telephonic talk between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister is the first step towards positive development in terms of restoration of talks and Dialogue between the two countries?( Fakhar-ud-din- Turkish News Agency)

Answer

Normalization of relations between Pakistan and India is very important for peace and development in the region. It will serve the interests of the peoples of all countries of the region. As I said a short while ago, Pakistan will welcome any steps from India in this regard.

Question

There were reports that Pakistan would take up the issue of Indian involvement in Pakistan and the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which he made in Dhaka, with the UN. Has Pakistan written a letter to UN or other international organizations?(Naveed Siddiqi- SAAMA TV)

Answer

All appropriate actions will be taken to protect Pakistan’s interest.

Question

On Wednesday, the Afghan Interior Ministry rejected reports of Pakistani media which said that Pakistani security forces crossed into Afghanistan and rescued a wounded Afghan soldier. What is the actual situation?

Secondly, will Pakistan join hands with Iran and Afghanistan to halt the spread of ISIL in the region? (Mudassir Hussain- Khyber News)

Answer

To your first question, I would just say that the action was taken on the request of the Afghan side.

As far as your second question is concerned, you know that Pakistan has been saying that ISIL poses a threat. However, ISIL does not have a footprint in Pakistan. Many countries have taken action against ISIL, individually and collectively. You are also aware of Pakistan’s commitment to combating terrorism. Pakistan has also been cooperating with the international community in this regard. During the telephonic conversation between Prime Minister of Pakistan and the US Secretary of State, the latter had conveyed appreciation for the steps taken by Pakistan to combat terrorism. However, if there is any proposal from any country for cooperation to counter threat from a particular outfit, it can be considered.

Question

SCO Summit is going to be held in Russia shortly. Times of India has reported that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the meeting. Can you confirm this? (Bashir Chaudhry – 92 News)

Answer

Pakistan will be represented at the SCO Summit at a high level. The exact level of participation will be announced shortly before the Summit.

Question

We are getting enthusiastic about Chinese investment in Pakistan. However, latest news reportedly is that, like in the past, China is intensifying its dictatorial steps in killing the Muslim spirit of observing the holy month of Ramzan in Xinjiang. How do you view the record of Chinese Government with regard to human rights? (Syed Mohsin Raza- Such TV)

Answer

I have not seen reports that you have referred to. During bilateral talks, we discuss all issues of mutual interest with China. China is a responsible country and is fully aware of its human rights obligations.

Question

Iran has recently offered to help Pakistan eradicate Polio, especially on border areas. Pakistan’s Health Ministry has welcomed the proposal and said that the proposal needs to be discussed with the Foreign Office. What is the Foreign Office’s assessment of the proposal?

Secondly, at a time when Pakistan’s Army Chief is visiting Russia, US Secretary of State called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. There are some reports that Washington is not happy with the growing ties between Islamabad and Moscow. Your comments on that please. (Muhammad Raza Munafi- IRNA)

Answer

Iran has neither shown any concern nor imposed Polio related restrictions for Pakistani visitors, including Zaireen. As of now, no understanding exists between the two countries regarding establishment of health centers and training of health officials.

As regards your second question, the Government of Pakistan has embarked on a policy of constructive engagement with countries in our region and beyond. Our engagement with Russia is in that context. Russia is an important country. We want to enhance our relations with Russia in all fields of mutual interest. Our relations with Russia have been on an upward trajectory for the last few years. It is an independent bilateral relationship.

Question

As Ramzan is starting, does Pakistan have any plan of asking Saudi Arabia and Yemen for ceasefire in this holy month of Ramzan?(Anwer Abbas- Waqt News)

Answer

Two days ago these issues were discussed at length during an Extraordinary meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Jeddah. The UN sponsored peace talks have also started in Geneva. As far as Pakistan is concerned, we have in the past welcomed various initiatives of the Coalition, including humanitarian pause from 12th to 17th of May. We would also welcome further steps in that direction.

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