Media Briefing|

(2015-05-21) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.] There is no opening statement

The Floor is open for Questions

Question

Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi is completing one year in office on 26 May 2015. What is your assessment of his policies towards Pakistan especially his response to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s good neighbourly policy in the region?

Secondly, has the United States of America conveyed any concerns on AXACT? (Shaukat Paracha- AAJ TV)

Answer

Firstly, no concern has been conveyed by the United States on AXACT. Investigation is going on at the moment.

Secondly, Pakistan is pursuing a policy of good neighbourly relations with all its neighbouring countries including India. You also know that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif attended the inauguration ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Dialogue process between Pakistan and India has not yet resumed. This point was made during the visit of Indian Foreign Secretary to Pakistan in March 2015. We will, however, continue with our policy of good neighbourly relations with India.

Question

Last time, I asked response of Foreign Office on putting of Al-Jazeera Islamabad Bureau Chief’s name by the US on watch list. Can you please share your response?

Secondly, according to media reports, the Russian President is going to visit Pakistan. Can you confirm that his visit dates are being finalized? (Syed Mohsin Raza- Such TV)

Answer

We have sent the question you asked to the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, as it is the concerned Ministry. However, I would reiterate what I had said last time that foreign journalists are given accreditation after security clearance.

No visit of the Russian President is scheduled for Pakistan as of now. However, we are expecting a visit from that region, which will be announced shortly.

Question

Currently, many national institutions are investigating allegations against AXACT. The fake signatures of US Secretary of State have also been used by the company as per media reports. Has the United States of America conveyed any concerns in this regard officially and do you think that such media reports are attempts to spoil close bilateral relations between the two countries? (Mateen Haider- Dawn News)

Answer

As you have mentioned, investigations are going on. It is not appropriate for me to say anything at this stage. Primarily, it is the subject of Ministry of Interior and all of you are aware that Minister of Interior had given a press conference yesterday. Today’s newspapers have carried reports about it.

As I told you earlier, no country including the United State has conveyed concerns to Pakistan. Everyone is looking forward to the outcome of investigations.

Question

What is your reaction to the Houthis have taken over two Saudi cities namely Najran and Jazan? (Anwar Abbas- Waqat News)

Answer

I have not seen reports of Houthis having taken over two Saudi cities you mentioned. But I would like to recall that about ten days ago, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs had given an interview to a few Saudi TV Channels in which he had expressed concern at shelling from Yemen on Najran. About 15000 Pakistanis are living in Najran. We have requested Saudi Arabia’s concerned authorities to ensure their safety and they have assured us that all possible measures will be taken in this regard.

Question

What is Government’s policy of responding to the negative propaganda made against Pakistan in the international media? (Essa Naqvi- Bol News)

Answer

It is a general question. I would have preferred something specific to which I could have responded. However, let me underscore that Pakistan desires peace in the region and in the world. We have been contributing to making the world a better and a safer place. You are well aware of Pakistan’s cooperation with the international community in combating terrorism and the sacrifices we have given. We are committed to having good neighbourly relations with all our neighbours. We are aware that there are detractors and there is propaganda against Pakistan from time to time. But we will continue to pursue the vision of peace our Prime Minister has given us.

Question

What is the position of the Foreign Office on denial of passport by the Indian Government to Mr. Syed Ali Shah Geelani to travel to Saudi Arabia to meet his ailing daughter? (Syed Musharraf Kazmi- Musawat Group of Newspapers)

Answer

I will draw your attention to the Press Release which we issued yesterday on this matter.

Question

We have been receiving complaints from overseas Pakistanis specially those residing in Saudi Arabia that they have no access to the Machine Readable Passport (MRP) facility? (Zarghoon Shah- Geo News)

Answer

Yes, our Embassy has been reporting to us regularly about this problem. We have taken up the matter with the concerned Ministry. We hope there will be progress soon.

Question

According to media reports, the Prime Minister has directed the Foreign Office to send a dossier regarding RAW’s involvement in Pakistan to India. What is the update in this regard?

Secondly, ISI and NDS of Afghanistan have signed an agreement on intelligence sharing. Can you share more details in this regard? (Naveed Siddique – SAMAA TV)

Answer

Over the last two weeks, we have talked about what your first question has referred to. The statements made on the issue were carried by media and are self-explanatory. I am not going to say anything further on that.

The MoU signed with Afghanistan will be helpful in combating terrorism. We have cooperation with Afghanistan in a number of fields and intelligence is one of them.

Question

The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) Daniel Feldman visited Pakistan yesterday. What are your comments on the recent development of close relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan? (Waqas Rafique- Capital TV)

Answer

A Press Release was issued yesterday regarding the meeting between the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Mr. Sartaj Aziz and Daniel Feldman. The focus of the talks was on Pakistan-US relations and Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. You are aware that the Prime Minister recently paid a visit to Afghanistan. A detailed account of the visit was issued including the Prime Minister’s statement at the joint press stakeout in Kabul. It explains the kind of close relations that we have developed with Afghanistan. Pakistan supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and we will continue to extend all possible support in this regard.

Question

What is the official position of Pakistan on the so called Pakistan-Saudi Arabia Nuclear deal? (Kauser Lodhi- Prime News)

Answer

There has been an entirely baseless and mischievous campaign in the international media regarding Pakistan’s indigenous nuclear programme. The Sunday Times story appears to be part of that malevolent campaign and is utterly unfounded.

Pakistan has robust command and control structure and comprehensive export controls. Pakistan supports objectives of non-proliferation as well as nuclear safety and security.

As a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan is fully aware of its responsibilities. Pakistan’s nuclear progarmme is purely for its own legitimate self defence and maintenance of a credible minimum deterrence.

Question

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said yesterday that no evidence of RAW’s involvement in Safoora Bus terrorist attack has been found. This is in conflict with what was previously said by different Government functionaries and institutions on RAW’s involvement in the attack. Your comments please. (Majid Jarar- News One)

Answer

We do not comment on statements/remarks of our politicians.

Question

Did the Foreign Office take up the matter of drone strikes inside Pakistan’s territory by USA with the visiting U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) Daniel Feldman? Are drone condemnation statements of Foreign Office meant only for internal consumption? Is Foreign Office taking up this mater at the international level? (Tariq Mehmood- 92 News)

Answer

One of the objectives of these statements is to inform our own people about important issues. However, these statements are also conveyed to the important capitals of the world by our Embassies, Embassies of other countries in Pakistan and through interaction of Foreign Office with foreign delegations. Besides, local and through international media also carry statements issued by Pakistan. Our statements, therefore, have desired impact at the global level.

Question

Saudi Arabia is a signatory to NPT like Iran. Pakistan has been commenting on Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy under NPT. It has not commented so far on the same right for Saudi Arabia. Your opinion please. (Shahid-Japanese News Agency)

Answer

All Parties to the NPT have the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. This right has been granted to them by the Treaty. It is, therefore, not for me to comment on that.

Question

What is your assessment of Iran and P-5 +1 nuclear talks? If talks succeed, what would be its impact in the region? (Raza Manafi- IRNA)

Answer

Basically it is for the countries concerned to speak about this issue. Once the final outcome is announced, we will convey our position.

Question

What are the grounds on which New York Times correspondent Declan Walsh was expelled from Pakistan two years ago? (Mateen Haider- Dawn News)

Answer

I have noted your question and will get back to you during next briefing.

Question

Do you have any evacuation plan for Pakistanis from Najran? (Anwar Abbas- Waqat News)

Answer

We are constantly in touch with our Embassy in this regard. If need be, we will take an appropriate decision in consultation with the concerned authorities of Saudi Arabia.

Question

Has any MoU been signed between Pakistan and Afghanistan recently on return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan to Afghanistan? When all Afghan refugees would be repatriated back to Afghanistan? (Changhez Khan Jadoon- Daily Sarkar)

Answer

I have not seen any reports about signing of a MoU between Pakistan and Afghanistan on repatriation of refugees recently. I will get update on repatriation of refugees and share with you during next briefing.

Question

Does Pakistan support Iranian role in the Geneva dialogue about Yemen Crisis? (Muddasir Hussain- Khyber News)

Answer

It is up to every country to decide for itself. As far as Pakistan is concerned, our policy on Yemen is well known. There is nothing I can add to it. Throughout the Yemen crisis, we have remained closely engaged with Saudi Arabia’s leadership and we will continue to do so.

Question

What is the outcome of the investigations of Naltar Helicopter Crash? (Sohail Chaudhry- Daily Pakistan)

Answer

Naltar crash is being investigated for technical fault. So far, we have not received any report in this regard.

Question

Sindh CM has announced that four suspects were arrested for involvement in Safoora Bus terrorist incident. Have the investigators found any links of suspects with RAW. Your comments please. (Amjad Ali- PTV News)

Answer

During the course of the briefing, I have said that it is our policy not to comment on the statements of our politicians.

Question

What is your assessment of achievements of Saudi-led coalition in bombardment of Yemen?

Secondly, there are people who say that the resolution passed by Parliament of Pakistan on Yemen is not the voice of people of Pakistan. Your comments please. (Raza Manafi- IRNA)

Answer

These questions have been repeatedly asked and we have answered all of them.

Parliament represents people. There cannot be two opinions about this.

We have remained in close contact with Saudi Arabia regarding the Yemen crisis. On 22nd April 2015, we welcomed the end of air campaign in Yemen by Saudi Arabia. We also welcomed the seven-day humanitarian pause from 12-17 May 2015. We have brotherly relations with the people of Yemen and have announced one million US dollars for provision of humanitarian assistance to them.

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