Media Briefing, Press Releases|


[This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated]


Thank you for joining us for the Weekly Briefing.


On 22nd of May, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressed the Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. He is the first Foreign Minister of Pakistan to address the AJK Legislative Assembly.

In his address, Foreign Minister saluted the courage of the Kashmiri people and paid rich tribute to their martyrs. He offered sincere sympathies to the population living close to the Line of Control and reaffirmed Pakistan’s longstanding commitment and solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

Pakistan has categorically rejected India’s move to host the meeting of the G-20 Tourism Working Group in Srinagar on 22-24 May 2023.

Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory. The dispute has remained on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for over seven decades. In that backdrop, India hosted this Meeting in IIOJK in complete disregard of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, principles of the UN Charter and international law.

Holding the G-20 meeting in a disputed territory is a betrayal of the people of IIOJK. For the last seven decades, they have been waiting for the international community to pay attention to their plight and bring an end to the occupation and human rights violations.

Tourism and development cannot be promoted by holding the local population hostage and denying them their rights and freedoms. By holding the G-20 meeting in Srinagar India cannot hide the reality of its illegal occupation of IIOJK and oppression of the Kashmiri people.

India’s facade of normalcy in Kashmir is met by the harsh reality that IIOJK remains one of the most militarized zones on the planet. The extreme security measures, arbitrary arrests and harassment of the local population around the Srinagar meeting, refute the claims of normalcy in the colonized territory.

India has clearly failed in hiding the reality in IIOJK behind a veneer of normalcy, as demonstrated by low-level representation and the absence of a number of important invitees at the Srinagar meeting.

We greatly appreciate the People’s Republic of China, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Türkiye, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Sultanate of Oman for not attending the Srinagar meeting. These countries have stood for international law and for the primacy of the UN Charter.

The G-20 was established, primarily, to address global financial and economic issues. By holding this meeting in the occupied territory, India has politicized yet another international forum, and is exploiting its position as the current Chair to advance its self-serving agenda.

India should instead provide unhindered access to the international media and independent human rights organizations to report on the situation in IIOJK. It must bring an end to the repression it has unleashed there, agree to the establishment of the UN Commission of Inquiry and hold a UN supervised plebiscite for the people of Kashmir to determine their own future.

Pakistan, for its part, will continue to extend its moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiri people’s just struggle for realization of their inalienable right to self-determination, as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
The Government of Pakistan has appointed Ambassador Asif Ali Khan Durrani as Pakistan’s Special Representative on Afghanistan. A retired Foreign Service officer, Ambassador Durrani served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Iran and the UAE. He also served in various capacities at Pakistan’s Missions in Kabul, Tehran, New Delhi, London and the Permanent Mission to the UN, New York.

As the Special Representative on Afghanistan, Ambassador Durrani will serve as a bridge between international partners and the Pakistani leadership. He will also represent Pakistan in major international mechanisms on Afghanistan held at the level of Special Representatives.

Now, the upcoming announcements:

Foreign Minister of the Republic of Belarus, Sergei Aleinik, will undertake an official visit to Islamabad on 30-31 May 2023, at the invitation of Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. The two Foreign Ministers will hold wide-ranging talks covering a range of topics of bilateral interest. They will undertake an overview of bilateral relations and explore enhanced cooperation in political, economic, defence and science and technology domains.

Pakistan and Belarus enjoy close and cordial relations. Foreign Minister last met his Belarusian counterpart on the sidelines of 77th Session of United Nations General Assembly in New York last year.

Foreign Secretary Dr. Asad Majeed Khan will travel to Azerbaijan and Georgia from 31st May to 1st June 2023 to hold Bilateral Political Consultations.

In Baku, Foreign Secretary will co-chair the Pakistan-Azerbaijan Bilateral Political Consultations with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Elnur Mammadov of Azerbaijan. The two sides will review the entire spectrum of bilateral relations with a view to further strengthening cooperation in political, economic, energy, education and culture fields. The Foreign Secretary will also meet with the representatives of local business community and engage with academia and think tanks experts.

On 1st June 2023, Dr. Asad Majeed Khan will lead the Pakistan delegation at the inaugural round of Bilateral Political Consultations with Georgia. The Georgian side will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Khvtisiashvili.

The talks will focus on strengthening economic and commercial ties. Agenda includes cooperation in cultural, education, tourism, defence and security matters and cooperation in multilateral fora. The two sides will also sign an MoU on formal initiation of the Bilateral Political Consultations.

That concludes my opening remarks. Thank you!

Question:​ A letter has been written to U.S. Secretary of State by more than 60 congressmen regarding human rights violation in Pakistan and Foreign Office has not issued any statement. Is not considered as interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan? Why are we defensive in this situation? (Raheel Nawaz Swati, Daily Awaz-e-Riasat)

Answer:​ We have seen the letter. We do not agree with the characterization of the events of May 9 and the situation in Pakistan, as reflected in that letter. The National Security Committee has spelt out the factual situation around the events of May 9. Pakistan remains committed to its constitutional obligations to protect the rights and property of all its citizens. These constitutional guarantees and fundamental freedoms are being underwritten by our judiciary.

Question: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in his speech at the AJK legislative assembly and his addresses at other public gatherings used a sentence that he is also the Foreign Minister of Jammu Kashmir. What does this mean?

Secondly, Gulzar Imam Shanbe has been arrested in Balochistan. Have we caught the whole network associated with him and if you can share some details that which countries have been using him against Pakistan? (Adeel Bashir, Roze News)

Answer:​ On your second question, I would advise you to contact the Ministry of Interior and the relevant home department because they would be in a better position to share with you the situation of law and order and on details of the terrorist network and any individuals who have been apprehended.

Regarding your first question – Foreign Minister recently visited AJK where he presented Pakistan’s viewpoint on the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. He reaffirmed his commitment as a consistent and fervent advocate for the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and their quest of self-determination.

Question:​ An alleged Fax Message sent by Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all Missions Abroad regarding a high-level event of G-20 meeting being held in IIOJK is circulating on social media. Can you confirm its veracity? (Syed Faisal Ali, Din News)

Answer: First of all, I would like to underline that the alleged document that you’re referring to is totally fake. No such message was dispatched by this Ministry or the officer concerned. The propaganda based on this false letter is condemnable, and part of a sinister campaign to target Pakistan on the basis of conjecture and falsehood. We take strong exception to the recent diatribe by Indian media against the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its officers.

I would also like to take this opportunity to recall that a few months ago, the EU Disinfo Lab released yet another report corroborating our long-held position about some Indian media outlets’ unrelenting smear campaign against Pakistan. The report illustrated how a number of nonexistent organizations, bloggers and journalists were regularly quoted by the Asian News Agency (ANI), a prominent Indian news agency. We have been consistently sensitizing the international community about India’s ill-intentions to malign Pakistan through multiple channels and fake documents. We will continue to do so.

Question: What would be the next step of Pakistan after failure of India’s G-20 Conference, because Pakistan’s stance has received lot of traction internationally on this matter? Please comment on it.

Secondly, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has given a statement on the current political of Pakistan. Please also comment on it. (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal, Media Today)

Answer: We have made our position known about such statements on the situation in Pakistan. We will not comment on the statements by officials and people who are not in government or hold any public office. Pakistan has the resilience and capacity to overcome all domestic challenges. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to protect Pakistan’s interests and project Pakistan’s viewpoint at the international stage.

On your other question about G-20, as I explained in our statement, Pakistan will continue to raise the Kashmir cause at all international forums. We will continue to highlight India’s sinister designs to hide the reality in IIOJK and use international multilateral forums for its self-serving agenda.

Question: Two days ago, a recommendation has been sent by the Foreign Affairs Committee of National Assembly that Pakistan and India should normalize relations and both countries should appoint High Commissioners. What is the response of Foreign Office regarding this? ​(Ali Hussain, Business Recorder)

Answer:​ On this matter, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs has already made a statement while speaking to the media outside the National Assembly committee meeting. I would reiterate what she said – that the parliament has every right to make recommendations on foreign policy matters and the executive takes decisions on those foreign policy questions taking into account the ground realities and the circumstances that we face internationally.

Question: As bloc politics is being discussed, is it true that Pakistan has joined the Chinese bloc? What is the stance of Pakistan on this?

My second question is that, three to four incidents have been reported yesterday in KPK in which natural gas production facilities were attacked and some people were also killed in that. As Afghan Foreign Minister visited Pakistan and gave assurance regarding terrorist attacks from Afghanistan. Has any protest been lodged by Pakistan with the Afghan Embassy or have we summoned anyone from the Afghan Embassy? (Allah Noor, Mashriq TV)

Answer:​ Pakistan and Afghanistan, as I’ve said multiple times, are closely in contact through multiple channels including through our embassies. These channels of communications are very robust and all issues of concern that arise from time to time are taken up with the Government of Afghanistan.

Regarding your first question, I would like to refute any such speculation that Pakistan has joined one bloc or the other. Pakistan has a consistent policy that we do not believe in bloc politics. We have an All Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership with China. It is a relationship that has grown from strength to strength over the last several decades and both countries are committed to this relationship. Similarly, Pakistan has excellent relations with a large number of countries around the world, in the Middle East, in Asia Pacific, in Europe and in Africa. The United States especially, is one of the oldest friends and partner of Pakistan and the biggest export market. Our relations with the United States are perhaps as old as Pakistan itself. Pakistan-US relations are multidimensional with several areas of cooperation with Pakistani Americans acting as a bridge between Pakistan and the United States. We have no desire to take sides or to join one bloc or the other.

Question:​ Two days ago a responsible member of party in government has stated that President of Pakistan Arif Alvi is holding meetings with Ambassadors of various countries and the Foreign Office is not being taken in to confidence for these meetings. Is President of Pakistan bound to take permissions from Foreign Office? If it is so, then what can Foreign Office regarding this? (Rizwan Abbasi, Daily Ausaf)

Answer: First of all, this question was asked at our last briefing and I answered this question. I would like to reiterate what I said last time, that when our leadership – President and the Prime Minister meet foreign dignitaries, this Ministry is informed and taken in confidence and that has been the case in the recent meetings as well.

Question: ​Regarding Asia Cricket Cup, PCB has categorically said that we will seek advice from the government. So what is the advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, what deliberations are going on in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Asia Cup and Pakistan’s teams visit to India later, in another similar event.

My second question is that recently we saw Arab summit in Jeddah. They came up with a very ambitious declaration about unity development and prosperity. What is the opportunity for Pakistan if peace is restored in Yemen, Syria, and there is development in Saudi Arabia? (Shaukat Piracha, AAJ News)

Answer:​ Pakistan has welcomed the recent developments in our region, where countries are normalizing relations. We welcome the recent normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Iran and Egypt and the peace measures which have been taken with respect to the conflict in Yemen. We also welcome the return of Syria to the Arab League fold. We hope that with peace restored and normalization of relations between countries in the region, all of which are good friends of Pakistan, new opportunities would arise for progress and prosperity of the people of this region, including for the people of Pakistan.

On your other question about the Asia Cricket Cup, we would offer our views to the PCB closer to the event. We believe that politics should not be mixed with sports. India’s approach has, however, remained very disappointing. India is a country that refused visas for the blind cricket team and politicized sports. We have to see how India acts going forward and how it gives confidence to the cricket playing nations with its approach towards international cricket tournaments and sporting events.

Thank you.

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