(2017-02-23) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]
Bismillah Ir-Rehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum
Since we met last, enemy once again struck and inflicted fatalities on innocent people in Char Sadda. We condemn the terrorist attacks and pray for the victims and the bereaved families. Government is taking concrete steps to deal with the terrorists. The enemy is taking advantage of the turmoil in Afghanistan and using its soil to launch terrorist attacks on Pakistan’s soil. Prime Minister has issued instructions to deal with the terrorists with absolute resolve, which our valiant Armed Forces and other Law Enforcement Agencies’ personnel are pursuing.
Defenceless Kashmiris in Indian occupied Kashmir continue to suffer from atrocities at the hands of Indian occupation forces. They have martyred 22 innocent Kashmiris in the first two months of 2017, which is condemnable. Youngsters and children are constantly targeted with pellet guns. IOK’s history is replete with grave human rights violations. Entire Pakistani nation supports Kashmiris’ indigenous movement for self-determination and Government will continue to extend its moral, political and diplomatic support to them till the resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC Resolutions.
On the economic front, Pakistan continues to follow a progressive trajectory. International Agencies have been highlighting brighter prospects for investment in Pakistan. On the foreign policy front, current and next week witness flurry of diplomatic activities with outgoing high-level visits, including the Prime Minister’s bilateral visit to Turkey, Adviser’s visit to Iran and upcoming 13th ECO Summit in Islamabad.
Now the Floor is open for Questions
Indian Home Minister Raajnath has called arrest of Hafiz Saeed as sham and eye-wash and unacceptable. He accused Pakistan for non-seriousness and demanded handing over of Hafiz Saeed to India. Your comments, please. (Amjad Ali – PTV News)
Indian attempts to play victim would have credibility if Indian allegations were not motivated by the desire to malign Pakistan and India’s own record was clean. Pakistan is a victim of terrorism and suffered hugely, both in terms of human and economic losses. Indian involvement in terrorism in Pakistan is well known. Confessions of Kulbhushan Yadav and Swami Aseemanand are a manifestation of that fact. Pakistan is fighting terrorism like no other country has done. India needs introspection. India must realize that peace in the region is in India’s own interest as well.
The preliminary information on recent in terrorist attacks in Pakistan in a span of one week has pointed towards Indian involvement, and use of Afghan soil to sabotage peace and stability in Pakistan. Don’t you think that India is trying to scuttle the ECO Summit and upcoming PSL final by undertaking such heinous acts of terrorism? (Fakhar-u-Rehman – Turkish News Agency)
The concerned authorities are conducting the investigations into the latest terrorist attacks. We do not want to give kneejerk reaction. We do not believe in rhetoric, though Indian involvement in terrorism and terror financing in Pakistan to destabilize the country is a well-proven fact.
Can you please tell us how many Head of States of ECO Member States are participating in the Summit? (Sheeba Mahar – Daily SAMAA)
Almost all the ECO Members have confirmed participation at high political level. ECO Summit will be held next week in Pakistan.
In the wake of Government of Pakistan starting the operation Rada-ul-Fasad, can we assume that Pakistan will ask Afghanistan at the diplomatic front to control the elements inside their territory and its soil not to be used against Pakistan? (Syed Mohsin Raza – Asas Group of Publications)
Afghan Ambassador has handed over a list of terrorists having links to Taliban and Haqqani network based in Pakistan. What is Foreign Office response in this regard? (Anwar Abbas – Waqt News)
Terrorism is a common enemy affecting both the countries. During Afghan Ambassador’s call on the Adviser, he assured of Afghanistan’s full cooperation. The meeting was held in a very positive environment. Both sides agreed that meaningful engagement is imperative for addressing the challenge of cross-border terrorism. Both recognized the need for a constructive government-to-government interaction as an imperative. Effective border management is important to ensure preventing cross-border movement of terrorists. We hope for strengthening of bilateral cooperation in all areas including political, security, economic and humanitarian fields.
Afghan National Unity Government has urged Pakistan to implement the Peace Quartet Commitments on eliminating terrorism. How do you respond to this constant demand of Afghan Government? Does it also suggest that QCG is operational?
Secondly, has the Afghan side confirmed its participation in the ECO Summit and at what level? (Essa Naqvi – Dunya News)
Pakistan has remained committed to Afghan peace and stability. We believe QCG is an important mechanism, which has done significant ground work for preparation of roadmap for Afghan peace process. Pakistan has therefore, continued to emphasize the need of working together in the QCG for the objective of lasting peace in Afghanistan. It seems that finally Afghanistan is also enunciating its willingness to move forward in our engagement in the QCG and address the important issues of peace and security through this process. We believe that such an approach would augur well for peace and security in Afghanistan and the region.
As I mentioned earlier, almost all the ECO Member States have confirmed their participation at high political level.
Afghanistan while expressing deep condolences on the recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan asks Pakistan to explain shelling inside its territory and expresses concerns over arrest of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Afghanistan has also demanded for opening of Pak-Afghan border. What is Pakistan’s response in this regard and when the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan will reopen? (Shaukat Paracha – Aaj TV)
In our view all such issues need to be addressed through constructive and positive engagement between the two governments. In this regard, Pakistan has continued to maintain and emphasize that effective border management is vital for preventing cross border movement of terrorists. Pakistan is ready to work with Afghanistan on those issues in a spirit of mutual respect, trust and cooperation.
As regards Afghan refugees, Pakistan has continued to host millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan in dignity and honour for the past four decades. You are aware that the Prime Minister has extended the stay of Afghan refugees till 31 December 2017. A package for visa facilitation for Afghan businessmen, students and patients has also been approved.
Decision regarding the reopening of Pak-Afghan border will be taken in due course.
Afghanistan has handed over a list of terrorists groups to Pakistan. Can you please share the names of terrorist groups? Is there any possibility of joint operation in the border region? (Rabia Pir – VOA)
I would like to refer to the relevant authorities who are managing the border and they would know the operational details.
I would like to draw your attention towards the talks between Indian Foreign Secretary Jai Shankar and Chinese authorities in China, where Pakistan related issues especially the banning of Masood Azhar at UNSC, also came under discussions. They have also discussed the CPEC. What is your take on this meeting? (Shabbir Wahghara – PTV World)
I would restrict myself to saying that we do not comment on the bilateral relations of two countries. As far the issues you referred to are concerned, China has already issued its statement in the context of Masood Azhar as well as CPEC. We have also cleared our stance many times in the past regarding CPEC and I don’t think I have anything more to add to it.
Last modified: November 22, 2019
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