Media Briefing|

(2015-04-30) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]

There are no Opening Remarks:

Now the Floor is open for Questions:

Question:

There have been significant changes in Saudi Royal family including change of Saudi Foreign Minister. So, what are your comments? Do you think there would be any impact on regional politics?

Secondly, what is the update on Yemen? Because in the last briefing you told us that Pakistan has taken a number of initiatives including at the highest level so what is the status now? (Mateen Haider- Dawn TV)

Answer:

On the first question, you are aware of our policy that we do not comment on the internal affairs of other countries.

On second question, the Prime Minister paid a visit of Saudi Arabia. He had very fruitful discussion with His Majesty and other members of the Saudi government. We have been in contact with various countries. It is likely that OIC would have a meeting in the coming days though we do not have definitive dates as yet. The UN has also been seized of the matter. As part of these organizations, Pakistan is always ready to play a constructive and positive role.

Question:

How do you comment on the reports that seamen of Pakistan are detained in India?

Second question is about the earthquake in Nepal. We have been hearing that the SAARC has been considering the matters of natural disasters. As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has just spoken to his Indian counterpart, is there anything you can share with us that the regional countries will step up front in handling this tragedy? (Shaukat Paracha- Aaj TV)

Answer:

With regard to your first about Pakistani seamen, the reports are that a Panamian vessel, MV Aymen, was proceeding to Pipavav, India, for ship-breaking on 2 April, but sank off the coast. Ten Pakistani and five Yamani seamen survived, and have since been in Gujarat, India. Our High Commission has approached the Indian government for ensuring security and well being as well as early repatriation of our seamen to Pakistan.

We have also learnt that the Pakistani seamen have been kept at a police station, and denied access to proper lodging. This is a matter of serious concern. If true, it is against international law and all established norms. International law requires every State to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger and to treat them humanely. Our concerns in this regard have also been conveyed to the Indian side.

As regards the issue of climate change and its impact, in recent years, South Asia has seen many natural disasters and the impact of climate change is quite visible. You would recall that in a letter to Indian Prime Minister, the Prime Minister had underlined the need for a closer coordination and cooperation within the SAARC on this matter. Subsequently, it was also underlined by Pakistan at the SAARC Summit. We would like to see more awareness and cooperation to address the consequences of climate change in this region.

We expressed our sorrow over the loss of lives and destruction primarily in Nepal, as a result of recent earthquake, and also in India, the Prime Minister spoke to the Prime Minister of Nepal earlier and today he spoke to the Indian Prime Minister again to convey condolences, sympathy and solidarity. Pakistan was one of the first countries to dispatch assistance, relief and rescue teams to Nepal. Our Doctors and rescue workers are working day and night to provide help to the people of Nepal. At this very difficult juncture, we stand with them and we are ready to do whatever we can to help them.

Question:

How do you respond to the Indian campaigns, first, there was a Ghar Wapsi campaign in which Christians and Muslims were converted to Hinduism? Now Indian is trying to change the demography of occupied Kashmir and is trying to convert the Muslim majority in Kashmir into a minority. (Zarghoon Shah- Geo TV)

Answer:

The Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory. The UN Security Council resolutions have pronounced very clearly on the status of the Jammu and Kashmir. Pending the final settlement through plebiscite, the two countries have administrative responsibilities in the disputed territory. But there is a very clear direction that there cannot be any demographic change and there cannot be any step which would alter the makeup of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Any effort to create special and dedicated townships, zones or any other step to alter the demographic composition of Jammu and Kashmir is in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. We have already seen how the people of Jammu and Kashmir are resisting the possibility of such measures.

Question:

What monetary assistance is offered by Pakistan to Nepal for earthquake victims keeping in view the UN has requested an initial donation of $450 million? (Mudassir Hussain- Khyber News)

Answer:

As I already said we are already doing what we can to help the people of Nepal. I may just recap for you what we have done.

Pakistan’s relief assistance has been in two phases. Pakistan dispatched its first medical aid and relief supplies to Nepal on April 26, 2015.Two C-130 aircraft delivered the relief assistance. The relief items transported to Nepal included, among others, medicines, blankets, tents, water, rice, lentils, search and rescue equipment and sniffing dogs. In addition to thirty doctors (including four lady doctors) an eighteen-member search and rescue team was sent to Nepal to provide urgent medical care/aid and relief supplies to the survivors of the earthquake.

The 2nd phase of Pakistan relief assistance started on April 28, 2015. Two C-130 aircraft were involved in delivering relief assistance to Nepal. Tents, blankets, MRE (Meal-Ready-to-Eat), medicines and search and rescue equipment were transported in the second phase of Pakistan’s relief assistance. A total of 39 personnel reached Kathmandu on April 28, 2015. Two sniffer dogs accompanied our search and rescue team.

Pakistani medical and rescue teams have been deployed in Bhaktapur to carry out search and rescue efforts and provide emergency medical aid to the injured. Bhaktapur city, where our contingent has set up its camp, is the third of the medieval city-states in the Kathmandu valley. It has also been known as the cultural capital of Nepal. Yesterday, the first baby was born in the Pakistani medical camp. We are happy that both mother and the child are doing well.

Yesterday, we were asked by the Indian media regarding the inclusion of beef in the food packets that have been sent. It is unfortunate that Indian media has not even spared a humanitarian mission and has, unnecessarily, tried to inject controversy into it. The Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) is a pre-packed kit of 20 items for a full day’s meals. On each and every packet inside the kit the name of the dish is clearly written in English and Urdu so that people may choose whatever they like to eat or discard. Both the languages are understood in Nepal. The Nepalese authorities found the MREs so effective that they specially requested for a full plane load of MREs on priority.

Question:

What is the official assessment of Pakistan on the recent visit of Afghan President to New Delhi, keeping in view the Chinese President’s visit to Pakistan in this month? (Syed Mohsin Raza- Such TV)

Answer:

It has never been our policy to comment on bilateral relations between other countries. We have however, repeatedly said that the region needs peace and cooperation for development. The international community and the countries in the neighbourhood have the responsibility to constructively engage in Afghanistan to promote economic development. We would like to see stability and peace in Afghanistan. We have our own bilateral engagement with Afghanistan which is under pinned by very strong ties of culture, faith, ethnicity and we share a very long border. We engage with Afghanistan bilaterally and directly.

Question:

According to media reports, Pakistanis residing along the Saudi Yemen border are facing difficulties in getting their officials documents due to close of consular visits of Pakistan consulate Jeddah in the areas bordering Yemen. Can you confirm this? (Sajjad Malik- German Press Agency)

Answer:

Our Consul General Jeddah has informed that due to decreasing number of applicants, certain cities have been clubbed together. Since Jazan, Najran and Abha are close by, instead of sending teams to all cities, the consular team would visit these cities alternately and at regular intervals. A consular team is already visiting Abha today to cater to applicants from these three cities.

Question:

Afghan Interior Ministry Spokesperson yesterday claimed that terrorists are planning activities on Afghan soil from the bordering areas of Pakistan. What is Pakistan’s position on his statement? (Ishtiaq- Voice of America)

Answer:

Well we have good cooperation with Afghanistan, which has been getting better by the day. We are moving towards the end of very comprehensive counter-terrorism operation. You will recall, when Zarb-eAzb started, we called upon Afghanistan, ISAAF and NATO to take action on their side of the border against terrorists who might be trying to escape to Afghanistan. It has been our effort to strengthen bilateral cooperation and improve border management all along the international border with Afghanistan. We are working closely. There are frequent exchanges of visits, consultations and coordination. Pakistan has a clearly enunciated policy that we would not allow its territory to be used against Afghanistan or any other country. Similarly, it is our expectation that Afghanistan’s territory should not be used against Pakistan. We have condemned the recent attacks inside Afghanistan. I do not have any information that corroborates that terrorists and militants were going from Pakistan and were involved in these acts. No such information has been shared with us. We have invested a lot in building peace and we have very high stakes in maintaining peace and stability, the best course for both countries is closer cooperation and coordination.

Question:

Regarding the statement of Afghan Interior Ministry’s spokesperson, it seems that there is a lot of mistrust between Afghanistan and Pakistan on combating terrorism in the regions. Your comments please? (Waqas Rafique- Capital TV)

Answer:

Well, I have just responded to this question.

Question:

What is the update on the boat carrying narcotics seized by Indian Coast Guards in the international waters? Secondly, there are many Pakistani Foreign degree holders’ doctors who are facing problems in registration of their degree with PMDC due to non existence of some Foreign Countries Embassies in Pakistan. How Foreign Office would help them in registration of their degrees with PMDC? (Shahid Rana- ARY TV)

Answer:

You would recall that in last briefing I said that we have requested India to officially confirm the reports that a boat or boats were apprehended with narcotics and they were Pakistanis. We have not received any confirmation of the incident.

As regards your second question, that is true that every country does not have Embassy here. We do not have Missions in every country with which we have diplomatic relations. In such cases, some Mission would be designated for concurrent accreditation. A number of countries which do not have diplomatic missions may have honorary consulates. In the absence of embassy, such a consulate may be authorized to provide consular services. They may check with the PMDC which would have this information.

Question:

What is the update on the arrest of Pakistanis in Italy on charges of planning terrorist activities? (Fayyaz- APP)

Answer:

There have been reports in the media about the arrest. There is still no clarity about the number of Pakistanis and charges. We are in contact with the Italian government. We have asked the Italian authorities for information and to provide consular access. We have been approached by the relatives of some of those detained and they vehemently reject the reported charges.

Question:

Is Pakistan taking any help from Foreign Security Agencies for the investigation killing of Sabeen Mahmood?

Secondly, Last Year Hajj application form requires applicants to mention their sect. Do you think that this will promote religious tolerance in Pakistan? (Fida Hussain- FM Radio -99)

Answer:

Please ask the Ministry of Religious Affairs about the Hajj form.

As regard your second question, our agencies are quite capable of investigating any such unfortunate incident that happens on our territory.

Question:

What is the purpose and outcome of Prime Minister’s visit to UK keeping in view, the Elections are being held in few days in UK? (Mateen Haider- Dawn News)

Answer:

The Prime Minister of Pakistan visited the United Kingdom on the invitation of his British counterpart David Cameroon to participate in the National Commemoration of the Centenary of Gallipoli Campaign and ANZAC Day where he interacted with other participating leaders and dignitaries. The President visited Turkey to attend the commemoration events.

Question:

Taliban has announced spring offensive in Afghanistan. Do you think that it would be a set back for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan? (Sajjad Malik- German Press Agency)

Answer:

We have already condemned the recent spike in violence in Afghanistan. We support the reconciliation process in Afghanistan. Pakistan has embarked on a very comprehensive, large and ambitious economic agenda and projects, which we hope would change the outlook of this region, increasing connectivity. This is sometimes called a game changer. We can benefit more if our neighborhood, particularly Afghanistan is peaceful. We have vested interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan. If Afghanistan is stable and peaceful, there is peace and stability in our bordering regions. Therefore, we would continue to support the reconciliation effort.

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