March 7, 2019| Media Briefing|
Bismillah Ir Rehman Nir Rahim,
I will start with a very brief roundup of recent developments, starting with Indian escalation.
As you are well aware, Pakistan has acted with exemplary restraint and responsibility in the aftermath of the Pulwama incident in contrast with India has been acknowledged by the international community.
On 26 February 2019, Indian aircraft violated Pakistani airspace but were effectively scuttled back by PAF. They were forced to eject their payload in uninhabited areas. Pakistan rebutted the baseless Indian claims of casualties which are now being questioned not only in India but internationally as well.
On 27 February 2019, Pakistan Air Force targeted non-military targets in Indian Occupied Kashmir, deliberately avoiding human loss and collateral damage to exhibit its capacity, capability and resolve. Two Indian military jets were shot down by Pakistan Air Force for violating Pakistani air space. One pilot was captured. PM Khan in his statement reiterated the offer to India for cooperation in investigation and resolving issues through dialogue. Pakistan also briefed the Ambassadors of P5 countries on the recent developments.
On 28 February 2019, PM Khan announced the release of the Indian pilot as a good-will gesture to de-escalate tensions, during the joint session of the Parliament. The pilot was subsequently released on 1st March 2019. Continuing with our efforts to deescalate tensions which pose a threat to regional peace and security, on 5th March, we conveyed the following to India:
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India will be returning to New Delhi, after completion of consultations in Islamabad.
The Pakistan Delegation will visit New Delhi on 14th March 2019, followed by the return visit of the Indian delegation to Islamabad on 28th March 2019, to discuss the draft Agreement on Kartarpur Corridor.
Pakistan’s commitment to continued weekly contact at the Military Operations Directorates level.
Meanwhile, the remains of Mr. Shakirullah, the Pakistani prisoner killed by inmates in Jaipur Jail, India were repatriated to Pakistan on 2nd March 2019. His murder amidst reports of lynching and stoning to death in an official jail and Indian violation of established protocols whereby Pakistan High Commission officials were not present during his postmortem raise questions which India must answer. Pakistan has demanded from India that findings of the judicial inquiry and post mortem report may be shared urgently and the culprits be brought to justice. As FIR is being registered in Pakistan against the accused. We have also stressed the urgent need to India to ensure safety of all Pakistanis, especially Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails to prevent recurrence of such tragic and reprehensible incidents.
Now some updates from Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, where Indian atrocities against innocent Kashmiris have intensified.
Indian state terrorism in IOK has intensified after the Pulwama incident. The OHCHR has condemned the use of the incident by India to intensify its crackdown and oppressive regime on Kashmiris in IOK. Pakistan strongly condemns enhanced Indian oppressive measures targeting innocent Kashmiris including the arrest / imprisonment of Hurriyat leaders and deployment of 10,000 more troops in IOK, one of the most heavily militarized places. Indian occupation forces, during the so-called search and cordon operations, martyred eight (8) Kashmiris, including, Suhail Nazir Mir, Kifayat Ahmad Ganie, Waseem Ahmad Mir, Ishfaq Majeed Mir, Irfan Ahmad Rather and Azfar Fayaz Parray in Shopian, Budgam, Handwara and Tral districts of the Indian occupied territory.
Banning Jamaat-e-Islami in IOK; sealing its educational institutions, including the houses of its members and throwing their families out of their homes; and arresting hundreds of its leaders and other elderly religious scholars, on the orders of Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is inhuman and unethical and will further deteriorate the situation of IOK. It is an example of imperialistic mindset of India. Pakistan strongly condemns the oppressive actions of the Indian Government and its puppet regime against Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik and Chief Spokesperson of the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu & Kashmir, Advocate Zahid Ali, under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) and their imprisonment in Kothbulwal Jail Jammu.
We urge the international community to call upon India to immediately put an end to the human rights atrocities in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.
The floor is now open for questions.
Sir, even if a bird crosses over to India from Pakistan it is viewed with suspicion and Pakistan is blamed baselessly by their media. In the light of the recent events, do you see any improvement in the Pak-India relations or not? (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal – Daily Kashmir Post)
Pakistan has always desired peace in the region, however, if Pakistan is attacked or shown aggression against, it will reply in the same coin. In response to your question regarding the current situation, I would state that a great deal of de-escalation has taken place. Pakistan has urged the need to engage in dialogue and resolve all disputes by negotiations. Furthermore, our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have reached out to a number of world leaders. However, our desire to engage in a dialogue should not be construed as a sign of weakness. If we war is thrust upon us, we would not be found lacking. A befitting response would be given.
Can you please confirm whether the Foreign Office has officially received a dossier on Pulwama attack, from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs? Also, can you elaborate the contents of the said dossier?
Secondly, what are the actions that the government is taking against various non-state actors inside Pakistan? (Zahid Farooq – Daily Metro Watch)
Yes, India has shared a dossier regarding Pulwama which is being examined. We will revert to India at the earliest.
In response to your second question, all actions are being taken under the purview of the National Action Plan and the Ministry of Interior issues a daily Press Release on the subject, which delineates the specific actions taken against all such organizations. It must be noted that highly transparent actions are being taken as per the domestic legal framework.
The Saudi Foreign Minister is due in Pakistan today. What will be the agenda of the meeting?
Secondly, India has shifted the meeting of delegations to Wagha-Attari Border. Does the Indian government want to delay or suspend the dialogue on Kartarpur? (Ms. Rashida Sial – Abb Takk TV)
The Saudi Minister was due a couple of days ago but why was his visit postponed? (Sib Kaifee – Arab News)
Kartarpur is an initiative of Pakistan, as a goodwill gesture, especially for the Sikh community. Two days ago, we suggested that we can visit New Delhi to hold talks for which Pakistan has already shared a draft agreement with India. However, the Indian government suggested that the talks should be held at Attari.
We plan to send a delegation to India, on 14th March, 2019. Members of the journalistic community are more than welcome to join and I presume that the Indian authorities will facilitate the Pakistani media, reciprocating the manner in which Pakistan facilitated the Indian media personnel, during the Kartarpur Ground Breaking Ceremony.
In response to your supplementary question, we did not announce any dates of the visit of the Saudi Minister. He is arriving Pakistan today and will be meeting the Foreign Minister of Pakistan at the Foreign Office. Divulging details about the visit will not be appropriate, as I cannot pre-empt the outcome of the meeting. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia share a deep bond of friendship, which is time-tested. In the meeting various issues of mutual interest will be discussed, however, the specific outcomes can only be shared at the conclusion of the visit.
Sir, what are the chances of de-escalation between India and Pakistan and there are reports that US has indulged in private diplomacy with both India and Pakistan to ease the rising tensions. Your comments, please? (Shaukat Paracha – Aap News)
India has asserted that Pakistan should “do more” in light of the UN Security Council’s Resolutions. How does the Foreign Office respond to this demand? (Ali Jaswal – Xinhua News China)
Private diplomacy is not displayed in public glare. I would also not comment on the “do more” argument.
Moreover, Pakistan’s friends desire that de-escalation takes place and the tensions do not go far. Pakistan is ready to hold dialogue on all subjects but Jammu & Kashmir will always remain the central issue. It has not been resolved, for over seven decades, and is still listed on the agenda of UN Security Council. The UN Security Council’s Resolutions need to be implemented and this dispute has to be resolved as per the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Furthermore, the human rights abuses in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir need to be stopped immediately and investigated upon.
Also, I would state that Pakistan is ready to hold dialogue on issues such as Siachen, Sir Creek, religious tourism, people-to-people contact and even terrorism. Importantly, SAARC has come to a standstill, while other regional organizations have performed much better than SAARC and are way ahead. This region is lagging behind due to lack of Indian cooperation and its intransigent behavior.
I would stress the point again that our desire to engage in dialogue should not be construed as a weakness.
As you have already mentioned that the venue of meeting of delegation has been shifted to Attari. Where will Pakistan host the Indian delegation on 28th March, 2019 (Essa Naqvi – Indus TV)
No decision has been taken in this regard, however, it is our desire that our guests visit us in Islamabad, but a decision will be taken after consultations with the Indian authorities.
There have been many reports regarding the usage of F-16 against India. How would you like to respond to that?
Secondly, what will Pakistan decide if a move to list Masood Azhar by the UN Security Council (Anas Mallick – WION TV)
The DG ISPR has already commented on the first question and I would not add to it.
Secondly, the decision on Masood Azhar will be taken as per the national interest of Pakistan.
Do you see India gaining a stronger foothold in the OIC in the future? And How does Pakistan plan to counter this? (Asim Ali Rana – Ary News)
How did the OIC respond to the concerns that were conveyed by Pakistan regarding the invitation extended to the Indian External Affairs Minister? (Naveed Siddique – Dawn TV)
How does Pakistan plan to counter a similar occurring in the future? (Kausar Lodhi – Prime News)
The Foreign Minister of Abu Dhabi, reportedly, has said that there are chances that India becomes a member of the OIC. How does Pakistan see this development? (Waqas Ahmed – Capital TV)
Pakistan did not participate in the OIC Summit and took a principled decision in this regard but do you think that this decision was correct? (Asghar Ali Mubarak – PPA)
Pakistan boycotted the event, in light of the Resolution passed by the Joint Session of Parliament and took a principled stand that India’s participation at the platform of OIC is not acceptable for us at any cost. Pakistan did not attend any meeting, which had the presence of Ms. Sushma Swaraj. Pakistan will never accept even the presence of Indian officials, let alone their demands of membership of the OIC.
India has been violating multiple resolutions of the UN Security Council and has committed aggression against a founding member of the OIC. This is an organization of the Islamic Ummah. Pakistan’s objectives regarding this organization are extremely clear and well-defined.
All the resolutions tabled by Pakistan were unanimously accepted – by 57 Muslim countries – despite the presence of the Indian External Affairs Minister. Importantly, India was severely criticized in these resolutions, on violating human rights in Jammu & Kashmir and threatening the peace and security of the region. Thus, all the objectives of Pakistan’s foreign policy were achieved quite successfully.
It must also be noted that this invitation was not extended by the OIC but by the host country, as per their prerogative and Pakistan is in dialogue with Abu Dhabi on this matter.
Pakistan floated a resolution “Maintenance and Promotion of Regional Peace and Stability in South Asia”, which was adopted unanimously by the Member States. This resolution condemns Indian barbarism against innocent Kashmiris in IoK and violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty by India on 26 February. Resolution also welcomes the peace offer made by Prime Minister of Pakistan to diffuse tension between both countries. All 57 countries supported the resolution.We were successful in highlighting Indian atrocities in IoK and its hegemonic designs and threats to Pakistan, during the meeting.
India has no legal or moral standing considering it has unresolved disputes with one of the founding members of OIC, is responsible for horrendous human rights violations of the people of IOK and has consistently rejected the OIC resolutions on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and those criticizing its maltreatment of Indian minorities.
Is it binding upon Pakistan to not use F-16s against India, as per the end-user agreement signed with the US? (Adeel Waraich – Dunya TV)
Sir, do you think that this was the first dogfight of JF-17 fighter jets? (Waqas Ahmed – Capital TV)
We stand by the statement made by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) and they will respond to any further questions on the subject.
India has violated the maritime sovereignty of Pakistan, as an Indian submarine was detected in the territorial waters of Pakistan. What has the Foreign Office done to protest against this incursion? (Khalid Azeem – Samaa TV)
Pakistan Navy successfully detected the incoming Indian submarine and thwarted their plans.
After the arrest of Commander Kulbushan Yadhav, the incidents of terrorism in various parts of the country subsided quite significantly. Do you see further threats of terrorism being planned by India and what measures have you taken to highlight this issue? (Abbas Jafar – Daily District News)
Pakistan has taken a firm and clear position on this issue and has highlighted its views on various diplomatic platforms. Pakistan is fully equipped to defend its sovereignty and integrity. Undeniably, we can seek help from our friends, however, we can fight this war on our own and have demonstrated, time and again, that we have the capacity to do so.
Pakistan has defeated India militarily, diplomatically, politically and has a moral upper-hand on India. The nation is united against the threat of aggression by India. The role of media has been exemplary in this crisis, which has been accepted by international observers as well. Importantly, the state institutions are functioning quite ably and are united as a nation.
The Prime Minister refused to comment on the third country which was involved in aggression against Pakistan. Would you like to name that country? (Bashir Chaudhry – 24 News)
I will not comment.
Over 150 families have been displaced due to the heavy shelling of Indian forces on the Line of Control. What arrangements have been made to look after them? (Raziq Mehmood Bhatti – Daily Kashmir Express/Asian Sun)
These people are the responsibility of Pakistani state and will be given all assistance by the authorities. The question does not pertain to the Foreign Office, but I will seek inputs from relevant quarters.
What has been the position of the Afghan Government on the current crisis? (Naveed Akbar – AAJ TV)
I will not comment on this question.
Has the post-mortem of Shakirullah been conducted in Pakistan and is Pakistan planning to take this issue to any international forum? (Shabbir Ahmed Wahgra – PTV World)
A First Information Report (FIR) has been lodged against the killing of Shakirullah. Who has been accused in the FIR? (Athar Kazmi – Hum News)
It is in my knowledge that the in-charge of Jaipur Jail, whose responsibility it was to protect Shakirullah, has been accused in the FIR, alongwith other people. The state of Pakistan is a complainant in this case as he was a Pakistani national.
Furthermore, I would like to state that since it is a sensitive issue, especially for the family, we should discuss it carefully. As per the usual practice, the post-mortem should have been conducted in the presence of Pakistani High Commission’s officials, however, the Pakistani officials were not informed and the post-mortem was done in their absence.
We will highlight this issue on every forum such as ICRC and others. We have already raised this issue bilaterally with India and will pursue it further.
Reportedly, US Special Envoy Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad has met Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Qatar. What impact will this development have on the Afghan Peace Process? (Syed Almas Haider Naqvi – Daily Dunya)
The meeting of Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is part of the ongoing Afghan peace process. We are hopeful that these talks will help reach a settlement for decade long conflict in Afghanistan. Pakistan shall continue to support the Afghan peace process in good faith and as a shared responsibility.
Last modified: November 14, 2019
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