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


Thanks for joining us for the Weekly Briefing.

Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar is in New York to attend the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly. Foreign Minister, Jalil Abbas Jilani and Foreign Secretary, Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi are part of the delegation.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister held a meeting with the President of Iran Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi and attended the High-level Meeting on Global Development Initiative and the SDG Summit Leaders’ Dialogue. At the SDG Summit Leaders Dialogue, the Prime Minister highlighted the challenges in attainment of SDGs especially for developing countries.

He called for climate justice, including the fulfilment of the pledge for over $100 billion annually in climate finance, allocation of half of this amount to climate adaptation and the urgent launch of the Fund for “Loss and Damage”.

Today, the Prime Minister will attend the Climate Ambition Summit 2023 and High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development. On Friday, 22 September 2023, the Prime Minister will address the UN General Assembly session.

In this address, the Prime Minister will outline Pakistan’s perspective on a range of regional and global issues, including the longstanding unresolved Jammu and Kashmir dispute on the UN Agenda. He will also share the measures taken by Pakistan to consolidate economic recovery and efforts to mobilize domestic and external investments.

The Foreign Minister also has a busy programme in New York. He has participated in several multilateral engagements including a Minister-level Meeting for Middle East Peace and a Meeting of the OIC Six-Member Committee for Palestine.

On the sidelines, the Foreign Minister has held bilateral meetings with a number of his counterparts including the Foreign Ministers of Belarus, Cuba, Malta, Norway, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. He also delivered an address at the Asia Society.

At the OIC Committee Meeting, the Foreign Minister underscored Pakistan’s principled stance of a 2-state solution to the Palestine question.

In his speech at the Asia Society, the Foreign Minister emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to a foreign policy rooted in mutually beneficial cooperation, peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, and shared economic development. He shared Pakistan’s vision for a peaceful neighbourhood, including combating terrorism, peace and stability in Afghanistan and resolution of outstanding disputes between Pakistan and India, particularly the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

Pakistan strongly condemns the recent storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by a group of extremists under the watch of Israeli occupation forces. We believe that a continuation of such unfortunate incidents this year constitutes a flagrant violation of the relevant international norms and conventions. It is an affront to the religious sentiments of Muslims around the world.

Pakistan reiterates its call upon the international community to act in concert to bring an end to Israel’s escalatory practices in the interest of peace, security and stability in the Middle East and beyond.

Human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) continue unabated.

During the first eight months of this year, the Indian occupation forces in IIOJK have killed 68 Kashmiris, including women and children. There were thirteen custodial killings. During this period about 2900 individuals including political activists, businesspeople, women and youth were arbitrarily arrested.

Such acts are aimed at breaking the Kashmiri people’s will and determination to demand their rights and freedom including the inalienable right to self-determination, as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. These human rights violations must end and their perpetrators should be held to account.

Pakistan will continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters for the just and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions.

I thank you.


Question: I have two questions. Foreign Minister Jilani held a meeting with the Special Representative of the United States for Afghanistan. They talked about peace and stability in Afghanistan and the shared efforts for this purpose by the two countries. My question is if the continuing attacks from inside Afghanistan and the use of Afghan soil against Pakistan were taken up and how did the US respond to it? My second question is, the Canadian Foreign Minister has said that their government has expelled an Indian diplomat, who was the chief of India’s intelligence agency in the country, due to the Canadian Security Agency’s active pursuit of credible allegations of a potential link between Indian government agents and the murder of a Sikh leader. How does Pakistan view the development? Also, what is Pakistan’s stance on the Khalistan issue? (Shaukat Piracha, AAJ News)

Answer: First, regarding the meeting of the Special Representative of the United States on Afghanistan with our Foreign Minister. As you know, this meeting took place overnight, so we do not have a complete readout of the meeting that took place. However, I can underline that various aspects of mutual interest were discussed especially the issues relating to peace and stability in Afghanistan and how the two countries can cooperate in this context. Regarding your second question, the news of Indian involvement in an extra-judicial killing in Canada has shown that India’s network of extra-territorial killings has now gone global. For decades, Indian intelligence RAW has been actively involved in abductions and assassinations in South Asia. Pakistan has remained a target of a series of targeted killings and espionage by RAW. In December last year, Pakistan released a comprehensive dossier providing concrete and irrefutable evidence of India’s involvement in the Lahore attack of June 2021. That attack was planned and executed by Indian intelligence. In 2016, a high-ranking Indian military officer, Commander Kulbhushan Yadav, confessed his involvement in directing, financing and executing terror and sabotage in Pakistan. India’s assassination of a Canadian national on Canadian soil is a clear violation of international law and the UN principle of state sovereignty. It is also a reckless and irresponsible act that calls into question India’s reliability as a credible partner and its claims for enhanced global responsibilities.

Question: This is a follow-up to the previous question. Besides the killing of a Sikh leader in Canada, there have also been such killings in Pakistan and such leaders have also been killed in the United Kingdom. After targeting the Sikhs and witnessing the success of the referendum for the Khalistan movement, the lives of some of the senior Kashmiri readers and activists in Brussels, London and New York are also under threat. What would be Pakistan’s message to the international community regarding this open Indian terrorism in different continents of the world that is jeopardizing peace, and threatening the lives of important human rights activists and Kashmiri leaders in IIOJK? Secondly, how does Pakistan see the Khalistan movement? (Mateen Haider, G News)

Supplementary Question: What is the official stance of Pakistan regarding the Khalistan referendum demanded by the Sikhs for many years? Do we officially accept this referendum? What is its importance for Pakistan? (Anwar Abbas, Bol News)

Answer: First, let me address your first question. Pakistan expects that Pakistani nationals or Kashmiris wherever they are, will be protected by the host governments. It is their responsibility to ensure safety and security.

Your second question is about an issue that does not pertain to Pakistan. This also does not pertain to individuals related to Pakistan. So, I do not have any comments to offer on this question.

Question: My two questions pertain to the recent intercept report. I understand that the Foreign Office has already denied the report as being baseless. Is there any further action been taken by Pakistan to prove it wrong? Secondly, there is a reference to Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington, American Senator Chris Van Hollen and a source of the Pakistani Army. Do you also deny this and call it baseless or fabricated? Thirdly, will Pakistan take any legal action regarding the Intercept’s report? (Jaleel Akhtar, VOA)

Supplementary Question: Supplementary on the Intercept’s story. There is a reference in the story that Ambassador Masood Khan had a meeting with Donald Lu where it was discussed with regards to the release of $900 million in lieu of arms that Pakistan is providing. Do you want to confirm that such a meeting has happened or is that too fabricated? (Anas Mallick, Capital TV)

Answer: First of all, I should underline that our ambassador in Washington meets US officials and congressmen on a regular basis; that is part of his job. He has held multiple meetings with various US officials on various occasions. Secondly, we have already clearly outlined that this report is baseless and fabricated. The IMF standby arrangement for Pakistan was negotiated between Pakistan and the IMF and you all know that in the IMF board, there are multiple stakeholders. The decision to finalize the standby arrangement with Pakistan was taken by the IMF after the two sides agreed to implement certain difficult but essential economic reforms. Giving any other colour to these negotiations is disingenuous.

Question: Will Pakistan take any legal action regarding the Intercept’s report? (Jaleel Akhtar, VOA)

Answer: I would not like to give more credence to this publication than the attention that it has already received. We have no such consideration at this point.

Question: India has recently accused Pakistan of being involved in the Anantnag operation and has said that Pakistan has been supporting those “militants” who were involved in that. What do you have to say about it? (Qurat Ul Ain, Independent Urdu)

Question: Ma’am, how many people accompanied the Prime Minister to UNGA? Secondly, Donald Blome has been holding meetings with several officials and political leaders. He has visited the Election Commission, IG Punjab and also delivered a speech in Gwadar. What is he trying to portray? (Sardar Amir Hussain, Daily Maddar)

Answer: The Prime Minister’s visit to New York is very focused. It is a short visit, and only a small delegation is accompanying him. The Foreign Minister and Foreign Secretary are the senior officials who have travelled to New York to attend the UN General Assembly. Some officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs mostly dealing with the United Nations division are also in New York to attend the various meetings. As I said earlier, it is a very small delegation. With regard to the other question, I think I have already said in the past that foreign Ambassadors in Pakistan are to meet with senior government or public figures just as our ambassadors in these countries meet with senior officials and public figures.

Supplementary Question: India is also threatening Pakistan regarding this issue and on the other side, General Mobin is also threatening Pakistan. What are your views on this? (Sardar Amir Hussain, Daily Maddar)

Answer: I would like to reiterate what we have said in the past. Pakistan has the capacity and the will to defend itself; it has done so in the past and it will continue to do so. As far as Qurrat’s question is concerned, I addressed it the last time as well. Pakistan has said time and again that India has a habit of blaming Pakistan for anything that happens under its watch, especially in IIOJK. We reject such accusations and concocted stories.

Question: Pakistan has said that Kulbhushan Yadav was involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan; on the other hand, India has also levelled these kinds of allegations against Pakistan. The question is on what level does Pakistan engage with India? Our DGMO used to routinely communicate with his Indian counterpart, is it still happening? Is communication through our embassies normally happening? Is there any back-door channel to discuss these kinds of issues? (Azaz Syed, Geo News)

Answer: The main channel of communication between Pakistan and India remains our two Missions, which as you know are at reduced strength and at the level of charge d’affaires. There is also the engagement that takes place between the Indus Waters Commissioners on matters particular to their jurisdiction. The DGMO mechanism is also functional.

Question: Please inform us about the upcoming sideline meetings of the Prime Minister at the 78th session of the UNGA. Are there any meetings with the IMF scheduled? (Ali Hussain, Business Recorder)

Answer: As you know in New York, there are multiple meetings taking place at the same time, which require the presence of the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Foreign Secretary and other officials. The sideline meetings take place whenever there is a window between these meetings. Sideline meetings that we finalize, depend on the availability of those time slots. As far as the sideline meetings are concerned, the programme is constantly evolving. Therefore, it would be difficult for me to give you an exact timeframe or confirm any sideline meeting at this stage.

Question: Pakistan has proved many times that India is responsible for terrorism in Pakistan directly and through Afghanistan and we have already provided the evidence to the international community and the United Nations in the form of dossiers. Now that the Prime Minister is at the 78th session of the UNGA, would he mention this in his speech? Will he mention all these recent incidents of Khalistan and Anantnag in his speech? (Nayyar Ali, News One TV)

Answer: I do not wish to go into details of the statement of the Prime Minister at this stage because the draft of the statement is still evolving. The main themes, which I have already shared with you, are about our vision for the region, our vision for the global world order and the importance that Pakistan attaches to its role in the United Nations. In short, the statement will focus on issues of key national priorities for Pakistan. I would therefore not be in a position to comment with respect to the questions that you have raised.

Question: As far as negotiations with Afghanistan are concerned, you have said several times that negotiations with the Taliban are tough but we are in contact with the Taliban interim government and there will be something for the media at an appropriate time. Has the appropriate time come? Secondly, it is an open secret that we are not comfortable with the Taliban regime. Then what is the nature of our communication with the American Special Representative? What would be its credibility? If something is settled between us, will the Taliban accept that? (Mazhar Iqbal, PNN News)

Supplementary Question: Previously Torkham border was opened after 8 days during which a reference was repeatedly given by the Afghan media to a letter sent to the Afghan Interim Prime Minister from Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar. In the letter, the Afghan government claimed that there was no mention of the talks regarding Afghan terrorism or terrorism in both countries. Do you verify this letter? Which points were discussed in that letter? (Ghazala Noreen, Suno Tv)

Answer: First, on Mr. Mazhar’s question, diplomacy means talking to your counterparts whenever there are difficult issues. Therefore, it is important for us that we continue to engage with Afghanistan to discuss all issues that are of concern to Pakistan. In that context, whenever there are meetings between friendly countries, we share notes on our respective perceptions about the developments that take place in the region or worldwide. So, this meeting that took place between our Foreign Minister and Mr. Thomas West was in that context, where the two exchanged views on their respective visions about peace and stability in Afghanistan.

With respect to Ms. Ghazala’s question, it is a separate question, but I can answer it. The letter that has been mentioned was a routine letter addressed by our Prime Minister to the leader of the Afghan Interim Government, in response to a letter of congratulations on his appointment as the Caretaker Prime Minister. These are diplomatic norms and in these letters, the two countries exchange positive messages. Our Prime Minister’s letter was also in that context, a positive message of the friendship between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Question: I have three questions. The first is related to the Indian-sponsored international state terrorism. As you have said, it’s gone global. When will Pakistan raise the issue of Indian state terrorism along with the terror financing issues at the appropriate forums, particularly at the Financial Action Task Force? The second question is related to that too. As the UNGA 78th Session is in progress, will the caretaker Prime Minister raise the Indian state-sponsored terrorism not only in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan but also in any other third countries in the world and the UNGA session? The third question is related to Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent address to the UNGA in which he strongly supported the cause for Kashmiris’ freedom. He also proposed Pakistan–India talks. So how do you comment on it? (Faisal Raza Khan, 92 News)

Answer: First, I would like to respond to your two questions together. Pakistan has and will continue to raise its concerns about India’s sponsorship of terrorism in Pakistan, and its suppression of the people of IIOJK. We will continue to do that at every relevant forum as we have done in the past. With regard to the address by the President of Türkiye and his statement on Kashmir, I would like to state that Türkiye and Pakistan are old friends and brothers. Türkiye has always taken a principled stance on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and we believe that they are equally pained at the plight of the Kashmiri people. With regards to any specific proposals that may have been made, I would like to get more details before we comment on it. As a matter of policy, Pakistan has always said that it is ready to hold talks with India on all outstanding issues, especially the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.

Question: In the recent past, many world leaders including Türkiye have offered meditation in Pakistan – India talks. If Türkiye plays a mediator role, will Pakistan welcome it? Secondly, is there any chance of a sideline meeting with India’s Minister for External Affairs in the 78th session of UNGA? (Asghar Ali Mubarak, The Daily Mail International/)

Answer: No sideline meetings are expected with India. With regard to third-party mediation, Pakistan has always said that we would welcome third-party mediation on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in the context of the UN Security Council resolutions and the principles of international law.

Question: The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has escalated once again and the Azeri forces have launched an operation. How does Pakistan view this development? Secondly, on the reopening of Torkham borders, the Pakistani Head of Mission had met the Afghan interim Foreign Minister and the statement by the Afghan Foreign Ministry said that the issue of a restriction on Afghan businessmen in Karachi city was discussed. So, can you let us know Pakistan’s position? (Anas Mallick, Capital TV)

Supplementary Question: Actually, it was the same question. I was going to ask what is Pakistan’s position about the Nagorno-Karabakh. Yesterday, as you know, Azerbaijan launched an operation against the Armenian separatists. Today also President Ilham Aliyev said that if the separatists lay down lay down their arms, then we will the end operation. So, what is your position about this development? (M. Nazim Tasci, Anadolu Agency)
Answer: Pakistan extends its heartfelt condolences to the people and government of Azerbaijan for the loss of precious lives in the mine explosions inside the Azerbaijani territory. Pakistan reaffirms its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Pakistan considers Karabakh as the sovereign territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Our stance aligns firmly with multiple United Nations Security Council and OIC resolutions, as well as international law. We hope that Azerbaijan’s legitimate claim regarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity will be accepted by all sides, making way for lasting peace in the region.

Regarding the talks between our chargé d’affaires and the Afghan interim Foreign Minister. The meeting, as you know, and as we have briefed, was very productive and all aspects of mutual concern were discussed. As a result of this meeting, an understanding was reached and Pakistan agreed to reopen the border. There are, however, still several outstanding issues, including those relating to terrorism and smuggling. On those matters, conversations between our two sides will continue.

Question: My next question is about the status of Kulbhushan Yadav. Pakistan had offered a third consular access. Where does the offer for his family to meet stand? And lastly, last night there was a reception that was hosted by President Biden. Did the Prime Minister attend that and was there an informal exchange between the caretaker Prime Minister and President Biden? (Anas Mallick, Capital TV)

Answer: There is no change in the status of Kulbhushan Yadav. As you know, it was a reception hosted by the US President in New York. In such receptions, bilateral engagement is not substantive. Our Prime Minister and the US President, therefore, had a diplomatic interaction.

Question: Ma’am, the day before yesterday, at the National Press Club Islamabad, A representative of the United Nations Mr. Julian Harness while addressing a news conference said that the United Nations is not supposed to impose any solution he was talking with reference to Kashmir. Would you comment? (Mazhar Iqbal, PNN News)

Answer: I have not seen the report on this interaction. So, I would like to get the details of what exactly was said before I would comment on that.

Question: Ma’am, how many people accompanied the Prime Minister to UNGA? Secondly, Donald Blome has been holding meetings with several officials and political leaders has visited the Election Commission, IG Punjab and also delivered a speech in Gawadar. What is he you trying to portray? (Sardar Amir Hussain, Daily Maddar)

Answer: The Prime Minister’s visit to New York is very focused. It is a short visit, and only a small delegation is accompanying him. The Foreign Minister and Foreign Secretary are the senior officials who have travelled to New York to attend the UN General Assembly. Some officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs mostly dealing with the United Nations division are also in New York to attend the various meetings. As I said earlier, it is a very small delegation. With regard to the other question, I think I have already said in the past that foreign Ambassadors in Pakistan are to meet with senior government or public figures just as our ambassadors in these countries meet with senior officials and public figures.

Question: Ma’am almost 20,000 people died in a catastrophic flood. Is there any plan for Pakistan to send relief to Libya? Secondly, Afghanistan has said that the Afghan embassy has been attacked and they have informed the Foreign Office as well. Have you been informed about this attack? If there was an attack then what was its intensity? (Muhammad Awais, INP)

Answer: I do not have that information on your second question, I need to check. Regarding your first question. The situation in Libya is a human catastrophe and a terrible tragedy about which the people of Pakistan are deeply concerned and troubled. We have expressed our sympathies with the people of Libya. We are in contact with ICRC on how best we can be of assistance to the people of Libya in these difficult circumstances.

Question: Ma’am, you have stated that Pakistan does not give any credence to the Intercept story. But despite that, there remains a space for doubt and suspicion between Pakistan and Russia. What would you offer to mitigate that if there is any suspicion and doubts inside Russia and to reassure Pakistan’s commitment? (Abdul Hadi, Hum Pashto 1 News)

Answer: Pakistan and Russia have a very solid and robust dialogue. As you know, in recent months, there have been a number of visits exchanges between Pakistan and Russia. We continue to discuss all matters of mutual interest. We believe that Russia understands that Pakistan has taken a neutral stance on the dispute between Russia and Ukraine.

Thank you very much.

Close Search Window