(2017-10-19) Opening Remarks
Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum
I am availing myself of this opportunity to congratulate all on Pakistan’s election to the Human Rights Council for a 3-year term starting on 1st January 2018 until 31st December 2020. This victory is a manifestation of International Community’s confidence in our role as a responsible member of the UN, leadership and international profile. This achievement was a result of the support of the Leadership and the strategy chalked out by the Foreign Secretary, a collective effort and team work of the Officers at the UN Division of the Ministry, Permanent Representatives at the UN New York and UN Geneva and our Ambassadors abroad.
The Prime Minister will be participating at the 9th Summit of D-8 in Istanbul. The Foreign Minister left yesterday to participate at 17th the Council of Ministers meeting.
The Foreign Secretary visited Oman for bilateral political consultations and to attend the QCG meeting. FS also held 5th Round of FS Level Bilateral Political Consultations with her Sri Lankan counterpart. She called on the Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister. The Sri Lankan President confirmed support for the holding of the SAARC Summit in Pakistan. Both visits to Oman and Sri Lanka were marked by warmth and strong support for Pakistan. Foreign Secretary will return on Sunday after holding Bilateral Political Consultations with the Secretary General of the Italian Foreign Office.
On Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, I wish to update you that Indian occupation forces during violent crackdowns and fake encounters killed four more Kashmiri youth, including Wasim Ahmad Shah (24), a cricketer, son of Ghulam Muhammad Shah of Heff Shopian, a Phd scholar Nasir Ahmad Mir, son of Abdul Hamid Mir, resident of Litter, Pulwama (He holds two masters’ degrees, one in Arabic and another in Education), Gulzar Ahmad Mir, 25, son of Ali Muhammad Mir, resident of Alipora Lassipora, Pulwama and a religious scholar Showket Ahmad Falahi in Pulwama and Shopian areas.
Over 60 defenceless Kashmiris were injured after Indian forces used brute force, bullets and pellets on peaceful protesters in IoK. We deplore continued illegal house detention of APHC leader Syed Ali Gilani, and Mirwiaz Umar Farooq and illegal detention of Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Massrat Alam Bhat, Aasiya Andrabi, Fehmeeda Sofi and scores of Kashmiris imprisoned in different jails of occupied Kashmir and in India. We are deeply concerned over the reports of life threatening condition in which they are being kept and inhuman treatment meted out to them.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of precious lives of innocent people, including personnel of our security forces in recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan. We pray for the Shuhadahs and their families. We also condemn terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, which has taken toll on the lives of innocent people there. We pray for them as well.
Now the Floor is open for Questions
Please update on the recent QCG meeting held in Oman? Was any agreement reached between parties? Any decision on the framework under which future talks will be held? (Rashida Sial – Abb Tak)
Long awaited Quadrilateral Contact Group (QCG) meeting was held in Oman but nothing was made public. There has been no word from Pakistani side but some statements from Afghanistan. Please share the outcome and when will next meeting be held? (Nimra – PTV)
The sixth QCG meeting was held in Muscat, Oman. Pakistani delegation was led by the Foreign Secretary. The meeting was held after a hiatus of over a year. During the meeting, member states discussed efforts for facilitating Afghan reconciliation process according to QCG’s agreed TOR’s and Roadmap. Dates for the next meeting will be finalized with mutual agreement.
What are your comments on the killing of mastermind of APS Peshawar and Charsadda attacks yesterday? (Naveed Siddique – Dawn News)
We have heard killing of two people Khalid Mansoor and Umar Khalid Khorasani in connection with US drone strike in Afghanistan. Is there an official confirmation on their killing in the drone attacks? (Ali Hussain – Business Recorder)
Please refer your query to ISPR. I have seen the Press Release issued by ISPR and media reports about the operation carried out by Resolute Support Mission Forces on Afghan side.
Freed American-Canadian couple has praised Pakistan Government and its agencies on the action against Haqqanis. While Pakistan has always rejected presence of Haqqani Network in Pakistan, the episode of Western couple’s arrival from Afghanistan and rescue is a further confirmation of Pakistan’s claim. Your comments please! (Saima Shabbir – Bol News)
You would recall that this couple was abducted in Afghanistan in 2012 and according to reports that appeared from time to time, their abductors were changing locations within that country, where terrorists are present in ungoverned spaces. Pakistan has taken indiscriminate action against all terrorist outfits. We have also clearly stated that terrorists are in the ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan, created by turmoil persisting in that country for almost four decades.
What steps have been taken by Foreign Office with regard to release of a resident of Rawalpindi that I had asked you earlier about? (Ayesha Naaz – Channel 7)
Our Embassy in Kabul has taken up the matter of Malik Faiz Ahmed with the Afghan authorities at various levels. The Embassy is also in touch with the company for which he was working.
Reportedly, high level visits from the US are expected in the coming days. Can you please confirm their arrival dates and agenda?
Secondly, US Envoy to the UN has said that India will help US in keeping an eye on Pakistan. Your comments please! (Ishtiaq Ahmad – VOA)
US Envoy to the UN said that US needs India to keep an eye on Pakistan. How do you see this statement which is not in line with the statements at the US leadership level? (Tariq Mahmood – SAMAA TV)
While US has appreciated Pakistan’s cooperation, the US has also been blaming Pakistan for not doing enough to eliminate terrorism and repeating the “do more” mantra. Is it because of political or economic expediency factor that US maintains the rhetoric? (Shabbir Wahgra – PTV World News)
On Mr. Ishtiaq’s question regarding high-level visits from the US, during the meeting between our Prime Minister and US Vice President on the UNGA sidelines and the recent follow-up visit of the US Delegation, both sides agreed to remain engaged at all levels. Senior level visits from the US are expected as part of the understanding on bilateral engagements at various levels.
Regarding your questions on the statement by the US Envoy to the UN, we are focused on the positive developments as manifested in the statements made at the higher political levels.
On Mr. Shabbir’s question, there had been many positive developments in our relations with the United States, which resulted in better understanding and increasing cooperation. The manifestations are productive meeting between our Prime Minister and the US Vice President and subsequent visits of the Foreign Minister to the US and inter-agency meeting between the delegations of the US and Pakistan on 12 Oct. The recovery of the abducted couple as a result of cooperation has added to the cooperative spirit and optimism. We appreciate President Trump’s message on 14 October, which said that US was “starting to develop a much better relationship” with Pakistan and its leaders. He also thanked for Pakistan’s cooperation on many fronts. Many messages at various levels followed including the US Vice President’s call to the Prime Minister.
Our delegation was in Europe to negotiate GSP plus Status. Please share the update.
Secondly, it has been reported that Pakistan has started a process to review capital punishment. Has Western pressure been the factor that led to the review? (Shaukat Paracha – Aaj TV)
The 8th Round of Pakistan – European Union’s Joint Commission was held in Brussels from 9-12 October, 2017. This is a broad based and comprehensive bilateral dialogue process. The scope of these discussions ranges from trade to development cooperation, human rights, governance and democracy.
The review of existing laws, including those pertaining to capital punishment, is an ongoing process undertaken by the Government. Any decision about our legal frameworks is taken on the basis of our fundamental principles of policies and in view of our national interest.
Indian media keeps propagating about infiltration from across LoC into Indian occupied Kashmir to misguide the International Community. How intensely is Pakistan working to counter it? (Sheeba Mahar – Daily SAMAA)
Discovery of unnamed and unmarked Mass Graves in 2009 by International People’s Tribunal in IoK, fake encounters such as in Maachil in 2010, gruesome killing of Sikhs in Chattisinghpura by the Indian forces in March 2000 followed by a fake encounter etc, have time and again exposed Indian lie about cross LoC infiltration. Indian claims have been rejected by the Int’l Community.
In Feburary 2017, there was a terrorist attack on Shah Noorani Dargah. Thereafter, Pakistan handed over a list containing names of 76 terrorists to Afghanistan. What is the update on the issue?
Second, is there any mechanism between the two countries on exchange of prisoners? (Naveed Akbar – Daily Dunya)
Response from Afghan side is awaited. At present, there is no mechanism in place for exchange of prisoners.
The US is sending mixed signals on CPEC. While the Pentagon says that CPEC passes through disputed territory, the State Department stays positive about its development. What does Foreign Office make of these statements? (Waseem Abbasi – The News)
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a project that envisages connectivity and regional prosperity with several regions of the world, including Central Asia and West Asia. It aims to play a pivotal role in connecting various hubs of the region and beyond.
CPEC is a flagship project of One Belt One Road (OBOR), Chinese President Xi Jinping’s landmark initiative, and slated as a blueprint for regional connectivity and mutual benefit. OBOR has already won support of over a hundred countries and organizations, as reflected in a recent conference on OBOR, held in China a few months back.
Reportedly, US President Trump announced his decision to decertify the Iran nuclear agreement, to which the Iranian President has also recently responded. What is Foreign Office’s stance on the issue? (Bahadur Hussaini – IRNA)
Pakistan believes that it is important for all sides to honor their commitments and obligations and work out the issues through peaceful means.
Last modified: November 22, 2019
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