October 5, 2017| Media Briefing|
(2017-10-05) Opening Remarks
Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif is currently undertaking his first bilateral visit to the US at the invitation of Secretary of State, Mr. Rex Tillerson. They held a detailed meeting, yesterday, during which bilateral relations were reviewed and regional security situation, including Afghanistan and deteriorating Pakistan-India relations, were also discussed. The Foreign Minister will be meeting Gen McMaster, the US National Security Adviser, today. The visit is of high significance as it will pave way for better understanding and cooperation between the two countries.
Japanese high level delegation visited Pakistan for the 10th Round of Political Consultations, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, yesterday.
Indian occupation forces continue to violate ceasefire on Line of Control (LOC) and deliberately target civilians. Yesterday, two civilians, including a child were killed and 2 were injured, including a woman, in AJ&K. Indian move to keep LoC hot is primarily to hide the crimes against Kashmiris its forces are committing in IoK. Indian irresponsible and hostile behavior is also endangering the peace and security of the region and beyond. During 2017, India committed around 1000 ceasefire violations and its targeted attacks on Kashmiri civilians in AJ&K and in the vicinity of Working Boundary has resulted in the Shahadat of 45 civilians and injuries to 155, which included children and women.
Human rights situation in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir continues to deteriorate as 8 innocent and defenceless Kashmiris have been martyred in last three days alone and many have been injured in brutal armed actions against unarmed Kashmiris.
Indian crimes against unarmed Kashmiris, who are seeking their right to self-determination, as promised to them in the UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir dispute, warrant strong punitive actions against India. Amnesty Int’l’s recent report on pellet gunshot victims is one of many other heinous crimes being committed by Indian forces in IoK on daily basis. Besides using rape as a tool to terrorize Kashmiri women and deter the men, Indian agencies and RSS activists are now humiliating and terrorizing teenage girls and women with ‘braid-chopping’ in Kulgam and other districts. Illegal prolong detention of Kashmiri leaders in precarious life-threatening conditions is deplorable and we call upon Int’l Community, particularly the UN, UNCHR, UN Special Rapporteurs, EU, and Human Rights Defenders to take note and call India to account.
Besides killing Kashmiris in thousands of fake encounters, Kashmiri leaders have been penalized with death sentences and life incarcerations on trumped up charges through flawed judicial trials. Case of Dr. Muhammad Qasim, is among many cases of miscarriage of justice.
Now the Floor is open for Questions
UN Human Rights Council has decided to send its team to investigate the war crimes in Yemen. Why can’t the same be done in Indian occupied Kashmir, where Indian forces have committed horrible crimes against innocent Kashmiris? (Shabbir Waghra – PTV World News)
IoK is not an integral part of India but a disputed territory on which there are UNSC resolutions. Why does UN need Indian permission to send a fact-finding mission? (Essa Naqvi – Dunya News)
Indian media has allegedly reported that Pakistan has killed 2 civilians and injured 12 in a shelling across LoC in Poonch sector. In your view, Indian war mongering and propaganda serves what purpose? (Saima Shabbir – Bol News)
On the first question, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, OIC IPHRC, OIC Contact Group on Kashmir, Parliamentarians of many countries and human rights defenders have demanded sending an independent fact-finding mission to IoK. But India remains defiant. OIC IPHRC delegation visited AJK just in March this year. We have consistently taken up the case of the Indian brutalities and human rights violations at all forums including the HRC. It is time for the international community to put words to action and ensure respect for the HR Charter, especially in IoK where Indian atrocities are well documented. A very recent example is Amnesty International’s 112 page report on one aspect of miseries faced by pellet guns victims in IoK; many other aspects are covered in detail in other reports.
On Mr. Essa Naqvi’s question, the High Commissioner for Human Rights has reiterated his dismay and concern over the grave human rights situation in Kashmir in his recent oral report to the Human Rights Council. He has again expressed the desire to monitor the worrying developments in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
India is an occupation force in Jammu & Kashmir. It continues to deny access not only to international observers but also to humanitarian workers. It is quite clear that, contrary to its claims of being the largest democracy, India is committing the worst forms of human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir. The international community is taking notice of the atrocities committed by Indian occupation forces. Human rights organizations including Amnesty International have reported on the Indian brutalities, particularly blinding of the innocent Kashmiris.
On Ms. Saima Shabbir’s question, baseless Indian allegations are regrettable, especially when Indian ceasefire violations have resulted in the martyrdom of many civilians, including children and women, and injuries to scores, including women and children. Pakistani troops would not ever resort to unprovoked firing at the LoC.
We maintain that the UNMOGIP has the mandate to monitor the ceasefire violations at the LoC and Working Boundary, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. Pakistan has always extended full cooperation to the UNMOGIP. On the contrary, India limits its movement and provides limited access. We take up this issue with the UN regularly. UNMOGIP is taken to the sites after unprovoked ceasefire violations committed by India. As you know India is committing heinous crimes in Indian occupied Kashmir against defenceless Kashmiris. LoC violations is to hide their systematic violation of human rights in IoK, and also to divert Pakistan’s attention from its resolute action against India’s self-admitted assets – the terrorists. There are many statements that have been emanating from Indian leadership and academic circles, including those of Mr. Ajit Doval, Mr. Manohar Parrikar and more recently Professor Bharat Karnad, all of which carry confessions and admissions that India is involved in terrorism, terror financing and subversive activities in Pakistan to destabilize it, particularly when Pakistan have made significant successes in the fight against terror.
Owing to the referendum in Kurdistan and subsequent press release, can we say government of Pakistan is turning its policy from West to Eastern countries? (Bahadar Hosseni – Islamic Republic News Agency)
Regarding your query on Pakistan’s position on Kurdish referendum in Iraq, we have already issued a press release. Pakistan fully supports Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
You asked about any change in Pakistan’s foreign policy direction. It has been the focus of the present Government to fully exploit the potential of Pakistan’s unique geo-strategic location at the confluence of four important regions – namely South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia and Western China. Pakistan is geographically well positioned to act as a natural economic and energy corridor for this region. We all know that the land-locked Central Asia is an energy rich region, which can meet the requirements of energy deficient countries in this region and beyond.
Our foreign policy is not just region specific but is based on nurturing relations with all countries in the world on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual interest.
When Rex Tillerson says ‘we have concerns about future Government of Pakistan in terms of being stable and peaceful’, he made the statement with our Foreign Minister in attendance. Did we share some concerns related to it with him?
Second, our Foreign Minister met General Mattis earlier in the day, and will be meeting General McMaster tomorrow. How it is helpful in the redressal of Pakistan’s legitimate security concerns vis-a-vis India and Afghanistan? (Shaukat Paracha – Aaj TV)
Secretary of State of Rex Tillerson also referred to issues Pakistan is confronted with. What are those issues? Was he talking about Pakistan-India tension that may create instability of government? (Abid Khurshid – ATV)
I have also heard Secretary Rex Tillerson’s statement. He said that US finds Pakistan a reliable partner, and would like to have a cooperative relationship with Pakistan. His statement about future of Pakistani Government was in the context of the situation and the threat of terrorism in the region. You all know where this threat is emanating from – ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan. Secretary Tillerson conveyed that US policy focus is on Afghanistan and the region and that they see Pakistan’s role as crucial in the context.
Foreign Minister’s visit to Washington is taking place in thewake of the meeting between the Prime Minister and the US Vice President in New York, where the US side had indicated the desire for a broad based engagement with Pakistan. As I mentioned in my opening remarks as also reflected in our self-explanatory Press Release yesterday, both sides reviewed bilateral relations as well as the regional security situation including Afghanistan. The Foreign Minister effectively presented Pakistan’s perspective on the US strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia.
Reportedly, US General Dunford, in his recent statement has leveled allegations on Pakistan’s ISI maintaining contacts with Afghan terrorist. Your comments please! (Naveed Akbar – Daily Dunya)
Reportedly, like the US, NATO Secretary General also supports India’s role in Afghan peace process. Pakistan says India is part of the problem in Afghanistan given India’s links with TTP and other terrorist outfits. How will this divergence be addressed? (Saad Umar – Roze News)
We have time and again rejected these allegations. Pakistan has done enough to erase the footprint of terrorism from its soil through indiscriminate CT operations against all terrorist outfits. The General also mentioned about sanctuaries in the historical context. In this regard, I will quote Ms. Hillary Clinton’s statement before a Congressional hearing during 2009, in which she said: “The people (Taliban) we are fighting today, we (the US) funded 20 years ago, to beat Soviet Union. Let’s be careful about what we sow because we will harvest. We abandoned Pakistan and they had to deal with these elements (Taliban)”.
I have nothing else to add to this statement except that our counter-terrorism operations were without any discrimination and we have successfully erased the footprint of terrorists from our soil. There are no safe-havens in Pakistan. The sanctuaries people talk about are located in the ungoverned spaces of Afghanistan. In the wake of President Trump’s policy review on Afghanistan and South Asia, Pakistan, at the highest level, has clearly underlined that Pakistan should not be made a scapegoat for failures in Afghanistan.
On supplementary question, India over the years has played the role of spoiler in Afghanistan. Under the garb of development assistance India has used Afghan soil to carry out subversive activities inside Pakistan. RAW has developed a clandestine nexus with terrorist groups based in Afghanistan, like TTP, JuA, ETIM, etc. These groups are being used to foment unrest and orchestrate terrorist attacks in Pakistan and other regional countries. We have shared evidence with the US, the Secretary General of the UN and also with the Afghan authorities.
Indian sponsored terrorist groups in Afghanistan and their directed terrorist activities inside Pakistan are no secret. There are many proofs of Indian use of Afghan soil against Pakistan. People from within India are on record to have admitted that TTP, JuA and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan are Indian assets, which they use to carry out terrorist attacks in Pakistan, and that “India would not sever its ties with these terrorists”.
Russian Foreign Office Spokesperson raised question on USA’s material support to ISIS in Tora Bora. How do you see Afghanistan being used for proxy war by two big powers? (Sheeba Mahar – Daily SAMAA)
It is not for me to comment on situations between other sovereign states. However, we have repeatedly raised our concerns regarding the expanding foothold of Daesh inside Afghanistan as it is a threat to regional peace and security. Many countries in this region have expressed concern on the rise of Daesh in Afghanistan.
We have heard reports from US military leadership that Pakistan may be stripped of its “Major Non-NATO Ally” (MNNA) status, if it does not do enough in fighting terrorism. Your comments please! (Abdur Rahman – Aljazeera TV)
Your question is speculative. However, let me add that Pakistan has carried out CT operations against all terrorists without discrimination. Our sincerity and commitment in this context should not be doubted. We have successfully eliminated terrorists from our soil. If you are referring to safe-havens and cross border terrorism, we have already said many times that those safe-havens are in the ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan. There are independent reports in this regard. Regarding cross-border terrorism, Pakistan is fully committed to address this issue with Afghanistan through effective border management, and has also taken concrete measures in this regard. Pakistan has suffered due to terrorist attacks by the terrorists from Afghan side.
My first question is related to safe havens. Reportedly, IS foothold is increasing in our neighbouring countries, particularly in Afghanistan.
Secondly, citizens of Pakistan and AJ&K are deliberately targeted by Indian ceasefire violations. What steps Government of Pakistan is taking to safeguard and protect its civilians? Will we only be protesting at the diplomatic level? (Tariq Mahmood – SAMAA TV)
Regarding your first question, As, I mentioned earlier, that we have serious concerns about growing presence of DAESH in Afghanistan. Its expansion has also raised concerns among other countries in this region and the need to address this menace.
Regarding your second question, I have addressed in detail in my opening remarks, as well as in response to the questions asked earlier, on how Indian deliberate targeting of innocent civilians across LoC and the Working Boundary through unprovoked ceasefire violations, is a cause of deep concern, and is detrimental to regional peace and stability. At the diplomatic level, we have summoned Indian diplomats every time Indian ceasefire violations result in the Shahadat of innocent Pakistanis. We have also taken up the matter with the UN and other countries. Moreover, Pakistan reports regularly to UNMOGIP, through our Military channels, who take UNMOGIP officials to the sites affected by ceasefire violations. While Pakistan has always extended full cooperation to UNMOGIP, India limits the movement of UNMOGIP and provides limited access. We all know that India is trying to deflect attention of the International Community from its gross human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir. As I mentioned in response to a question earlier, India also wants to divert Pakistan’s attention from its successful operations against terrorists. As I indicated that there are testimonies of Indian financial support to the terrorists, who are attacking Pakistan, and India wants to protect those terrorists, as they are Indian assets.
Iran has often launched rockets attacks in the Baluchistan area, where these fires have resulted in martyrdom of many innocent civilians in Baluchistan. Our Deputy Commissioner has protested with the Iranian side many a times in this context. Has the Foreign Office taken up this issue with the Iranian side?
Secondly, is Kulbhushan Jhadev part of the Iranian regime? (Yasir Baloch – Daily Rahbar Balochistan)
Commander Kulbhushan Jhadav was a serving Indian Naval Officer, working for RAW, who was caught red-handed by Pakistani security forces. He confessed before the judicial authorities and revealed the purpose of his Mission to Pakistan, which was to create instability in Pakistan, as well as sabotage CPEC.
On the issue of Iranian firing and rocket attacks, the area bordering Pak-Iran border is inhabited by human traffickers, drug smugglers and criminals. Both Pakistan and Iran have institutionalized mechanisms in place, including the Border Commission, where these issues are regularly discussed.
Army Chief has recently visited Afghanistan, and held important meetings with Afghan leadership. The entire military and political leadership of Afghanistan was present on the occasion. Please share some details, particularly regarding further cooperation on counter-terrorism operations between both sides? (Naveed Saddique – Dawn News)
Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa led a delegation to Afghanistan. He was accompanied by the Foreign Secretary and the DG (ISI). The COAS held constructive and useful engagements with both political and military leadership of Afghanistan. Pakistan as a policy, participates in all forums that are geared towards bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan has offered training and equipment in the field of counter terrorism and border management.
Reportedly, a Dalit has been stabbed for sporting moustache in Gujrat home town of Prime Minister Modi. This is one of the many such attacks that took place during last one week. Your comments! (Khawaja Nayaar Iqbal – Kashmir Post)
India has already been involved in water and territorial aggression vis-a-vis Pakistan. Now, that we have proof that India is deliberately trying to sabotage CPEC, can we say that it is also involved in economic aggression and terrorism? (Anwar Abbas – Waqt News)
Grave human rights situation all across the country in which Muslims, Christians and Dalits are being persecuted at the hands of Hindu extremists and terrorists is a matter of great concern for the International Community. Lynching incidents of members of religious minorities are commonplace in India. Media has not been reporting on the gruesome incidents that are taking place every day. One after many incidents finds media coverage in India.
Indian atrocities and state terrorism in Indian occupied Kashmir is also a matter of deep concern for the International Community. On 29 September, Australian Parliamentarians and other civil society members organized Kashmir Forum in which the participants strongly condemned blatant human rights violations in IoK by the Indian occupation forces.
Your second question can best be addressed in the larger context of Indian hostile policies against Pakistan. Ever since the present BJP Government came to the helm of affairs, there are many indications and manifestations of this hostile policy. For example, the intensity of Indian atrocities in IoK have increased tremendously. Indian hostility at the LoC and Working boundary is unprecedented. This year alone, there have been almost one thousand ceasefire violations by India, so far. I have already reflected in detail the motive behind India’s increased hostility at LoC.
The hostility towards Pakistan is visible in the statements made by Indian political leadership at various levels, particularly those of Prime Minister Modi, NSA Ajit Doval, Manohar Parrikar and many other BJP leaders. The manifestations of Indian hostile policy towards Pakistan are Indian state involvement in perpetrating and financing terrorists and subversive activities in Pakistan to cause instability, and Indian open statements to sabotage CPEC – a project about economic development and uplift of the entire region. Pakistan has already submitted dossiers to the UN Secretary General on Indian involvement in terrorism in Pakistan.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has threatened that India would break Pakistan into four pieces this time to teach it a lesson. He further said that India would be ready for such a move around April 2018. Your comments please! (Amjad Ali – PTV)
India is a blatant violator of UN Charter and relevant International Laws on the sanctity of sovereignty and territorial integrity of independent states. Subramaniam Swamy is not the first Indian leader who has publicly confessed Indian evil designs against Pakistan. Earlier, PM Modi, during his visit to Bangladesh in June 2015, openly admitted Indian role in the 1971 events in East Pakistan. The subversive activities for which Commander Kulbhushan Jhadav was sent to Pakistan and revelations made by Ehsanullah Ehsan and opinion piece of Prof Bharat Karnad are testimony of India’s continuous condemnable efforts against Pakistan.
The UN should take note of Indian activities, an issue which we have already taken up with the UN SG. Our Armed Forces, fully backed by the entire Pakistani nation are capable of defending sovereignty and territorial integrity and defeating any aggressive designs against our country.
Last modified: November 22, 2019
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