Media Briefing|

(2017-04-27) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]

Opening Remarks

Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum

We strongly condemn terrorist attack in Khurram Agency on Tuesday in which 14 innocent people, including mostly children and women were killed. We pray for victims and those injured and express heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. Reportedly, Jamaatul Ahrar, claimed responsibility.

India has waged a war against unarmed and defenseless Kashmiri people through state terrorism. Indian occupation forces forcibly barged into camps of schools and colleges in Pulwama on April 15. Ever since, students, including girls, from Primary to College levels all over Kashmir valley, have been demonstrating with pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. Over 150 students have been injured in the brutal use of force, pellets and teargas shells fired by Indian occupation forces.

To hide grave human rights violations and crimes against humanity, Indian occupation forces have imposed a ban on Internet services in occupied Kashmir. Indian media have quoted Indian official in IOK that “no amount of brute and lethal force could deter these girls.”

Hurriyat Leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik and Asiya Andrabi remain either under arbitrary arrest or illegal detention. According to media reports, Asia Andrabi whose house was raided yesterday by Indian occupational forces is in critical condition. Kashmiri Leader, Masarrat Alam Butt, is behind the bars since October 2010. He remained outside the jail for about forty days during 2015. Since 1990, the Indian occupation authorities have booked Masarrat Alam under the Lawless law, Public Safety Act, 34 times. We deplore inhuman treatment meted out to Kashmiri leaders.

Indian Hindu terrorists of Jan Sangh cadre, who had declared war against Muslim community in Jammu region of the occupied Kashmir, are active in persecuting Kashmiri Muslims. Jan Sangh drew its strength from RSS. Founded in 1925, the RSS was organised on authoritarian and militaristic lines to glorify violence. It was developed basically as an anti-Muslim organisation.

Pakistan deplores the ongoing bloodshed, persecution and worst human rights violation in IOK in the living memory. International Community, particularly the UN, should stop India.

Pakistan continues to receive dignitaries from across the world, including SAARC region.

Now the Floor is open for Questions


Ehsanullah Ehsan made revelations that Indian intelligence agency RAW and Afghan NDS are involved in perpetrating terrorist activities in Pakistan. Now that Pakistan has many proofs in this regard, how does it intend to use these options?

Secondly, India has put a ban on social media in India occupied Kashmir (IoK). What is Pakistan’s stance in this regard? (Khawaja Nayaar Iqbal – Kashmir Post)

Supplementary Questions

We have overlapping examples of Kulbhushan Jhadev and Ehsanullah Ehsan, both of whom were involved in anti-Pakistan activities. Can you draw an analogy between the two? What is Pakistan’s official stance on the two cases? May I point out the difference between Kulbhushan Jhadev, who is granted no consular access, including access of the media, and that of Ehsanullah Ehsan whose video, it is reported, was recorded by certain Pakistani media channels. (Syed Mohsin Raza – Asas Group of Publications)

Through the arrest of Ehsanullah Ehsan, and the fact that NDS provided fake IDs for Taliban free movement across the border to execute terrorist activities in Pakistan, along with providing funding to the terrorists has to come to fore. The nexus between NDS and RAW has also been pointed out once again. Are we going to take this matter up official with the Governments of India and Afghanistan, and also internationally, so that these governments are exposed? (Essa Naqvi – Dunya News)


I am not here to draw analogy between the two cases. These are two different cases. Kulbhushan Yadav (Jhadev) was a serving commander of Indian Navy, working for Indian intelligence agency RAW and was caught red-handed. He made confessions, and was tried for espionage activities. His trial was conducted according to the law of the land in a transparent manner.

You made reference to granting consular access to Commander Kulbhushan Yadav. We have made it clear time and again that Pakistan and India have signed an agreement on consular access in 2008, and according to clause VI of that agreement, decision to grant consular access in cases where detentions and arrests relate to political or security matters, the request of consular access will be decided on merits of the case. This remains our consistent position. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, in his press briefing on 14 April 2017, clearly stated the points related to the case of Kulbhushan Yadav.

As regards Ehsanullah Ehsan, he has surrendered voluntarily to Pakistani authorities concerned. I recall another question about 13 RAW agents, who were killed when mother-of-all-bombs was dropped on Afghanistan, was raised by (yes) Mr. Shaukat Paracha, earlier and I promised to respond during this briefing. It is relevant in the context of other questions asked regarding Ehsanullah Ehsan. You have talked about his confession, but these were actually revelations, which he made voluntarily. Although whatever he said is now in public domain, I will share some of the details which Ehsanullah submitted voluntarily. He remained associated with TTP as a Spokesperson and later with Jamaatul Ahrar until his surrender. He has given in his statement, which is now in public domain, the reasons why he disassociated himself with JuA.

In his revelations he said that JuA is working on Indian Intelligence Agency RAW’s agenda to destabilize Pakistan using Afghan soil. That JuA is receiving all kinds of support including shelter, finances, training facilities and documentation for ease of movement in Afghanistan. Local population of Kunar and Nangarhar strongly resent JuA’s activities, but they are helpless. He also revealed that JuA leader Omar Khalid Khorasani received medical treatment in India after he got injured in Afghanistan.

Your reference to the presence of 13 Indian Intelligence Agency RAW’s agents among those who died by the bombing on a terrorists’ sanctuary vindicates our claim that India is using Afghan soil against Pakistan. The presence of Indian RAW’s agents should also be seen in the backdrop of revelations made by Liaqat Ali AKA Ehsanullah Ehsan, an associate of TTP and later Jamaatul Ahrar, who surrendered to Pakistani authorities concerned.

Pakistan has always highlighted to the Int’l Community that India uses Afghan soil against Pakistan and it has been repeatedly stated by those in India in position of authority and responsibility that their effort is to squeeze Pakistan from the eastern and western borders.

The international community should take note of Indian state sponsorship of activities of subversion, terrorism and financing of terrorists against Pakistan. India clearly stands exposed as a state sponsoring and financing terrorists. Confession of Kulbhushan Yadav (Jhadev) and now revelations by Ehsanullah Ehsan are irrefutable proofs against India. We have raised this issue of Indian involvement and terror financing in Pakistan at the UN and with other countries.

I have said it earlier also that your focus on the question of Kulbhushan Jhadev tends to overlook the larger issue of Indian state involvement in perpetrating terrorism in Pakistan, a sovereign state. This has been proved by the arrest and confessions by Kulbhushan Jhadev and revelations made by Ehsanullah Ehsan.

On your question regarding banning of social media in IoK, I think you are looking at one specific element. The case in point is Indian brutalities in IoK. Not only are they involved in state terrorism against defenceless Kashmiris, but are using every tool to suppress them. One of these tools is to ban social media. This is not the first time it has happened. Soon after the extra-judicial killing of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, and ensuing events in which Kashmiris in IoK were protesting peacefully against Indian atrocities, they had completely blacked out the media.

I will draw your attention to the concern raised, by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) based in US, on banning of social media in IoK, and has warned ( International and western media is publishing front page headlines on grave human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir committed by Indian occupation forces. Yesterday, New York Times published an article, graphically presenting Indian brutalities committed in IoK including the killing of 12 & 17 year old youths.

Pakistan strongly condemns and deplores restrictions on social media, used by India as a tool to hide its crime against humanity on defenceless Kashmir in IoK.


You replied to a question about 13 Indians killed in Afghanistan in a recent US bombing. Indian media has twisted this news story to state that those 13 Indians were Muslims, and had joined Daesh. My question is, that when India accepts that its citizens are working for Daesh in Afghanistan, how do we respond to it in a holistic manner? Why are they there, and how many more could there? (Shaukat Paracha – Aaj TV)


If you get a chance, pose this question to my Indian counterpart as to why they are twisting it. However, your reference to 13 Indians killed and God knows how many still operating in Afghanistan, is pertinent. I have said it on numerous occasions as to how India tries to destabilize Pakistan. They are operating not only from their own soil, and sending spies who carry out subversive activities and terrorists to Pakistan but also using Afghan soil against Pakistan.


Reportedly, a Pakistani Parliamentary delegation will visit Afghanistan. Can you confirm? (Sheeba Mahar- Daily SAMAA)


Yes, the visit is taking place. A Pakistani Parliamentary delegation is scheduled to visit Afghanistan at the end of the month. Such visits are a manifestation of desire to strengthen relations between the two countries and, particularly, enhancing parliamentary and people to people exchanges.


BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said that India should recognize Balochistan as a separate country if Pakistan went ahead with the execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav. Your comments please!

Secondly, with the arrest of Ehsanullah Ehsan, the RAW-NDS nexus has once again come to fore. Please specify whether Pakistan will raise the matter with the international community? (Tariq Mahmood – SAMAA TV)


Responding to your second question first, I will repeat that you tend to overlook the larger issue of Indian state involvement in sponsoring and financing terrorism in Pakistan. The irrefutable evidences in the shape of confessions and revelations by Commander Kulbhushan and Ehsanullah Ehsan are before us. It is a well established fact that India is very much involved in perpetrating terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan. We have taken up the issue with the international community and the UN already and would do so again, when appropriate.

With reference to your first question, Commander Jhadev has been tried for espionage in Pakistan. He has been tried as per the law of the land, in a fully transparent manner. His sentence is based on credible, specific evidence, and his own confessions, proving his involvement in espionage in Pakistan. Irresponsible statements like the one you referred only substantiate our concerns about Indian subversive activities inside Pakistan and Indian interference in internal matters of Pakistan. Inflammatory statements are counterproductive and against inter-state norms.


Recently, Bal Thackeray’s terrorist organization MNS workers vandalized Zara’s showroom in Mumbai and destroyed “Made in Pakistan”, items reflecting a significant rise of hatred and anti-Pakistan sentiments in India. Your comments!

Secondly, we have a clear proof of Indian involvement in Col. Habib Zahir’s abduction. Any update on the matter?


Responding to your first question, rising extremism in India is a cause for international concern. Such incidents of intolerance in a metropolitan like Mumbai is reflective of the mindset of those associated with the authorities at the helm.

On your second question, our Embassy in Nepal is closely working with the Nepal Government and concerned authorities. I am not aware of development, if any. You have pointed out Indian involvement by virtue of the evidence and information received so far. It is a case of entrapment and we do not rule out possibility of involvement of hostile agencies.


After the recent Taliban attack on Afghan military base near Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghan and international media has reported that Taliban have infiltrated Afghan National Army and police force, which enabled that deadly attack. What is the motive behind blaming Pakistan when the problem is internal? For the first time, Afghanistan did not accuse Pakistan of the attack. (Amjad Ali – PTV News)


Pakistan has strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Afghan military base in Balkh on 21 April 2017. Prime Minister himself issued a statement condemning the attack and expressing solidarity with the Afghan nation. Pakistan has also emphasized on the need of close cooperation between our two countries for eliminating the scourge of terrorism. All reports by various sources including the UN and US have identified that internal problems are the reasons behind the situation in Afghanistan. Blaming Pakistan is nothing but rhetoric to try to divert attention from internal problems.


General Raheel Sharif’s decision to join IMAFT has been criticized by political parties in Pakistan and Iran. Iran has also called it a sectarian alliance. Can Pakistan review its decision due to criticism from different quarters? (Tariq Sial – Daily Times)


I think we have very clearly indicated that this coalition is neither for nor against any country. For this proper procedure and channel has been followed with regard to the appointment of Gen. (R) Raheel Sharif. Defence Minister has made clear statements in this context over time. I don’t have much to add to it, except what the Defence Minister or we have said earlier.


National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq just returned from five-day visit to Iran. What were the highlights and achievements of this visit?

Secondly, it is reported that two Iranian soldiers were killed on Pak-Iran border, and the killers are now in Pakistan. Your comments please! (Raza Manafi – IRNA)


As to your second question, I have seen the media reports. What I’m aware of is that this incident took place on Iranian soil. I don’t have further information on that. We condemn the loss of lives of Iranian Border Guards in the incident and condole with the bereaved families.

With regard to Speaker National Assembly’s visit, these high level visits are part of mechanism in place between two the countries to strengthen the relations at various levels and in diverse areas. Parliamentary exchanges have been taking place. Many high level visits of this kind have taken place from both sides. These high level visits not only provide strength to existing relations, but also give direction to bilateral relationship. I am not fully aware of the outcome of the visit, but judging from media reports, I can say that it was a good visit, and will further strengthen relations between Pakistan and Iran.


There are reports published in US media regarding presence of Ayman-Al-Zwahiri in Karachi. What will be our reaction if another US operation like the Abbotabad incident occurs again? (Anwar Abbas – Waqat News)


Your question is speculative and does not warrant a response.


In Uttarpardesh, BJP government has banned 15 holidays like Jumatul wida and Eid Milad-un-Nabi, once again targeting the Muslim community of UP. Please comment in the light of treatment of minorities in India! (Mona Khan – Geo News)


These reports highlight discriminatory treatment meted out to minorities, especially Muslims in India. We have seen numerous examples of what’s happening in India in terms of persecution of minorities like Muslims, Christians or Dalits. This has become a matter of concern for the international community. It is being reported widely not only in India, where saner voices are raising concerns, but also in Asian and the Western media. These steps are deplorable and definitely do not serve inter-faith harmony, which is an objective pursued by international community.


Yesterday, Indian High commissioner came and met with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, and asked for an appeal regarding the verdict of Kulbushan Jhadev. They have earlier rejected and criticized the legal process of Pakistan through which Kulbhushan was convicted. How do you see a sea change in Indian attitude, wherein they are coming and appealing to the same legal system that they had denounced? (Essa Naqvi – Dunya News)


I see your point. They have submitted the request, which will be examined by experts.


Gilgit Baltistan Tourism Department has recently released official data, highlighting a significant decrease in the number of mountaineering tourists entering Pakistan since 2007. Do you think that our Missions abroad should institute special desks to facilitate tourists who want to come to Pakistan? (Fida Hussain – Radio News Network)


I would refer you to the relevant authorities to inquire the exact reasons of this decrease, as to whether it is seasonal or something else.

Pakistan is rich in tourism potential. There are all kind of tourists that may find something of interest in Pakistan, be they historians, or archaeologists or trekkers, mountaineers or looking for natural beauty in which Pakistan is abundantly blessed, they all find what they look for. We are making efforts to increase tourism in Pakistan so that people from across the world can come here. Coming to your question, I have responded earlier also that our Missions abroad make efforts to that end while following the procedure of visa requirements, circulated to them by the Ministry of Interior.

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