[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.
Let me begin by recalling the solemn observance of Youm-e-Istehsal on 5th August. The day was observed across the Pakistan to denounce the third year of Indian military siege of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in the wake of India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 and subsequent measures aimed at undermining the internationally recognized disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir, and to alter the demographic structure of the occupied territory.
It was an occasion to reaffirm the nation’s unwavering support for the just struggle of the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination.
The Indian Charge d’Affaires (Cd’A) was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and conveyed the Government of Pakistan’s unequivocal rejection of India’s illegal and unilateral actions, which were in complete violation of the UNSC resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, international law, and the 4th Geneva Convention.
A Solidarity Walk initiated from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was led by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister of Defence and Qamar Zaman Kaira, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan joined the walk, and also addressed the participants.
The President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister sent out messages of solidarity.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressed a comprehensive letter to the President of the UN Security Council, President of the UN General Assembly, UN Secretary-General, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and a separate letter to the OIC Secretary-General regarding the alarming situation in IIOJK. It was pointed out that, in accordance with UNSC resolution 122 (1957), all the unilateral actions taken by India on and after 5 August 2019 were not only illegal but, ipso facto, null and void.
Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood briefed Heads of resident OIC, P-5 and EU Missions to apprise them of the latest situation with particular reference to human rights violations, and the legal and peace and security dimensions of the situation in IIOJK.
Pakistan’s Embassies and Consulates across the world organized a series of activities including outreach to host governments, media and civil society, seminars, conferences, exhibitions, and other events to mark Youm-e-Istehsal and express solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiri people. Pakistani and Kashmiri diaspora also organized and participated in events related to the Day.
These manifestations projected loud and clear that the people of Pakistan will always stand with their Kashmiri brothers and sisters and continue to extend all possible support to them for the realization of their right to self-determination, guaranteed to them by the relevant UNSC resolutions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is harrowing to note that more than 650 Kashmiris have been martyred since 5 August 2019, including over 130 in the year 2022 alone. In the past week, Indian occupation forces have martyred six more innocent Kashmiris in Kulgam, Pulwama and Rajouri areas of IIOJK.
Extra-judicial killings, harassment and humiliation, arbitrary arrests, and house raids by the Indian occupation forces have become the ‘new normal’ in the IIOJK.
Over the past seven decades, three generations of Kashmiris have waited for the world community and the United Nations to honor their solemn commitment made to the Kashmiris for their right to self-determination. The international community must demand an end to India’s gross and widespread human rights violations in IIOJK; reversal of its unilateral and illegal actions of 5 August 2019; repeal of draconian laws; and implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.
You would have followed during the week, the Prime Minister had a telephonic conversation with President of the UAE His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The two leaders discussed strengthening of multi-faceted relationship between the two countries.
You would have also followed this morning, the signing of the Goods in Trade Agreement between Pakistan and Turkiye.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me move to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s recent visit to Cambodia for the 29th Ministerial Meeting of ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) from 4-6 August. During the visit, the Foreign Minister addressed the ARF Ministerial Meeting, called on Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and met Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonnon. He congratulated them on successful hosting of the ASEAN and related meetings.
The Foreign Minister also held meetings with Foreign Ministers of various member and partner countries of ARF on the sidelines including Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
During his interactions, the FM underlined the critical importance of ARF for regional security and expressed Pakistan’s continued commitment to ARF. He also expressed Pakistan’s keen desire to enhance its engagement with ASEAN particularly through attainment of Full Dialogue Partnership.
Pakistan has also felicitated ASEAN Member States on the 55th ASEAN Day on 8th August.
Yesterday, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari warmly welcomed Robert Dussey, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Togo, who is undertaking his first bilateral visit to Pakistan. Foreign Minister Zardari stated that Pakistan attached high importance to its longstanding and cordial ties with Togo, which were based on mutual trust and common interests. He highlighted Pakistan’s desire to enhance economic, trade and investment cooperation with Togo as part of the Government’s vision of enhancing engagement with the African Continent.
Later the same day, Director of the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO-RATS), Mr. Ruslan Mirzaev, called on Foreign Minister Bilawal. The Foreign Minister warmly welcomed the Director and his delegation and reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the goals and purposes of the SCO Charter and the ‘Shanghai Spirit.’
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Yesterday, MOS Hina Rabbani Khar chaired a meeting of the National FATF Coordination Committee, in which briefings were given on measures to improve effectiveness of Pakistan’s Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. The MOS expressed satisfaction on the trajectory of reforms and appreciated the collective, system wide efforts in bringing Pakistan’s AML/CFT regime at par with the international standards, and which remains a top priority of the Government.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is unfortunate that as the people of India and Pakistan approach the Independence Day celebrations, the BJP government has shown its true colours with its mischievous move to mark 14 August as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’. We strongly denounce this move which reeks of the reprehensible playbook of hatred, misinformation and communalism that has become the hallmark of BJP-led India of today.
It is deplorable that the BJP government, as part of its divisive political agenda, is wantonly attempting to play with the sentiments of the people through one-sided and distorted interpretation of history.
The government of India is advised to desist from politicizing the events related to Independence and instead sincerely honor the memories of all those who sacrificed their lives for a better future for all.
Let me say this loud and clear – Pakistan will proudly celebrate the magnificent milestone of our Diamond Jubilee, as befits the nation. Preparations are underway across Federal and Provincial governments to celebrate the momentous occasion with various activities. Notably, this includes release of the new recording of our National Anthem. On its part, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also paying a musical tribute to ‘Pakistan At 75’ through a special rendition by officers of the Ministry to be released on August 14.
As the whole country is decked in festive hues of white and green, let me also share that our Missions across the world will also be curating a special experience for our expatriate community by organizing numerous events ranging from elegant flag hoisting ceremonies, diplomatic receptions, art expos, sporting events, gala evenings, musical nights, trade exhibitions in addition to strong and unified digital campaigns to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.
We look forward to celebrating #75thPayKuchKhaas with panache and patriotism.
ہماری طرف سے آپ سب کو جشنِ آزادی مبارک۔
I thank you and am ready to take your questions.
Question: Pakistan has played a very important role to support the Kashmiri people during the last 75 years. Do you think that international community including Security Council has played its due role in resolving this conflict between Pakistan and India? How much longer do you think we need to wait for the international community to play its role in giving the Kashmiri people their right to self-determination?
Secondly, what message would you like to give regarding the atrocities being faced by the Kashmir people for the past three years? Are we going to plan any international conference for pushing the United Nations to take meaningful actions in this regard? (Asghar Ali Mubarak, The Daily Mail International)
Answer: Thank you for your question. I think this is true that this issue has been long outstanding, and this is what we have been saying. It has serious implications for the peace and security of the region. This is a major outstanding dispute between India and Pakistan and it has serious implications for peace and security. And since 5th August 2019 in particular, this has assumed greater dimensions in terms of human rights violations and the humanitarian situation that has developed in IIOJK in the wake of India’s illegal and unilateral actions. So, these are important aspects apart from the legal dimensions of this dispute that we have been highlighting, that we have been raising before the international community, at the UN and other fora, bilaterally with member states, and this is our demand from the international community, including the UN, and if you look at the joint letter that the Foreign Minister has addressed to the UN Security Council President, the President of the UNGA, UN Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, he has clearly articulated Pakistan’s position and our expectations what the international community needs to do to resolve this outstanding dispute between India and Pakistan. I think it needs to be understood, that since this dispute is an international dispute, it is on the agenda of the UN Security Council itself, it is the direct responsibility of the UN and the Security Council and particularly its five permanent members to make sincere and concerted efforts to resolve this dispute. It is time for them to act. Other organizations play an important role, with their moral and political support, for example the very clear and strong statements of support from the OIC that are there. But even there, the call, the demand is for the UN and the Security Council to implement its resolutions, because that is the basic framework for the resolution of this dispute. It is the domain of the UNSC. Pressure needs to be built upon India in order to have the Security Council resolutions implemented which provided for the right to self- determination of the Kashmiri people. This is our message, a very clear message and we continue to push this, and we continue to extend our full support to the Kashmiri people on the basis of this principled position.
Question: There is approximately one month remaining in UNGA session. Have we finalized the composition of Pakistan delegation to attend the UNGA session? Would you like to comment on that? (Zahid Farooq Malik, Daily Metro Watch)
Supplementary Question: Is there any possibility of a meeting between Pakistani and Indian Prime Minister during the upcoming SCO summit to be held in September? (Anwar Abbass, BOL News)
Answer: The SCO meeting is in Samarkand in mid September. There is nothing with me about the meeting you are referring to.
About the UNGA session, this is an important annual event in which, you know already that given the significance of this gathering where world leaders, they congregate and they express their positions and perspectives on national, regional and international issues. There is usually a high level delegation from Pakistan, so high-level participation is expected. Arrangements are being made. We are preparing for this important visit. We will share further details.
Question: Yesterday, we saw a lot of critique in a section of the Indian media on allegedly Pakistan or China blocking the listing of some individuals that are supposedly in Pakistan. We saw some comments from the Chinese foreign ministry as well. And we’ve previously seen that this is a pattern, some months back there was another individual and yesterday we saw the report of another individual. What is Pakistan’s take on the matter? Thank you. (Anas Mallick, Capital TV)
Answer: With reference to some recent, I would say malicious and misleading reports that have been emanating from the Indian media in particular, regarding UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee, Pakistan regrets such blatant politicization of the UN counterterrorism processes and violations of its rules regarding confidentiality and due process.
You would recall, this is not the first time that India has tried to politicize the issue of listings in the UN Security Council. India first tables baseless and politically motivated proposals and then presses the council members to accept them without proper scrutiny and deliberation.
The 1267 Sanctions Committee of the Security Council works on the basis of consensus. There are clear rules and procedures governing the work of this committee. These procedures must be applied in an objective and equitable manner.
Pakistan has been one of the biggest victims of terrorism that is planned, orchestrated, and sponsored from across the border; including, using soil of third countries. Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives or have been injured as a result of these Indian sponsored and financed terrorist attacks. Over the years we have shared irrefutable evidence of India’s involvement in terror attacks inside Pakistan with the UN Security Council.
Recently, Pakistan proposed a listing of an Indian terrorist. It goes by the name of Gobinda Patnaik Duggivalasa, who was running a terror syndicate and coordinating terrorist activities in Pakistan. Pakistan provided complete details of his activities and met all the technical requirements of the 1267 Sanctions Committee. The proposal, however, was rejected. Now, that is the ‘double standards’ that some talk about.
We hope that the Security Council and the international community will not allow India to misuse UN counterterrorism architecture and frustrate the international community’s efforts to effectively and equitably address all sources and manifestations of terrorism.
Question: There was an incident of missile misfire in the month of March this year. Supposedly, it was BrahMos missile by India, and there were reports that some investigation is being conducted by India to ascertain whether it was a deliberate thing, technical malfunction or whatever it was. Has India shared the findings of this report officially with the Government of Pakistan that what actually happened on 9th of March? And what efforts has Pakistan done to stop India from marketing this one of the world’s fastest missiles, because until then, it was only Philippines but now we know that Indonesia is going to buy the same and India is also reaching out to the ASEAN market for selling its missile. Thank you so much. (Essa Naqvi, Independent)
Answer: Thank you. I would not venture into commenting on the second part of your question at this point of time, but we have obvious concerns about these developments. On the first part, no, they (India) haven’t responded to our detailed set of questions that were posed, and that were also shared with the UN Security Council and the UNSG, and it was expected that they would revert to us. They haven’t done that and we await their reply.
Question: My question is basically, about the respect, repute and dignity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I recall on every 8th of March on the Women’s Day this office issues, press releases, and highlights, women being given prestige in Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Can you confirm Consul General of Pakistan from Barcelona had been called back on the orders of the Prime Minister. He is alleged of harassment and attempted rape over female staff over there. What kind of actions are being contemplated, inquiry or dismissal from the service? Thank you, sir. (Shaukat Piracha, AAJ News)
Answer: We, as you said, take these issues and allegations very seriously. The officer has been recalled, that’s number one. The matter is being looked into and obviously there will be proper inquiry. I think this is what I can share with you at this point of time.
Question: Yesterday we got a press release that director SCO Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) is on a visit to Pakistan. So this year these CT exercises would be taking place under SCO platform in India, so Pakistan and India both are members of SEO, will Pakistan Army contingent participate under SCO in such exercises? And, second question is that we received your statement rejecting India’s decision to observe 14th August as partition horrors day. So why we are so apologetic to not mention and highlight the atrocities and brutalities committed by India on the same day against Muslims and the mass migration that took place against innocent Muslims who were migrating and number of other things and also violation of the partition agreement, commitments, the resources they occupied and held there and so many things which needs to be exposed and highlighted as far as India is concerned. Thank you. (Mateen Haider, G News)
Answer: On your first question, yes, there will be exercises in the ambit of SCO RATS. India is chairing SCO RATS this year. These exercises are scheduled to be held in India in Mahesar in October. And, as Pakistan is a member, we will participate. At what level, I think when we approach that, we will let you know.
On your second observation, I think not at all, I mean, why should we be apologetic? And that’s why we have issued a very clear and unambiguous statement that you would have seen. I think it’s the BJP leadership and their mindset – that should be apologetic. As I said, in my opening remarks, both the people of India and Pakistan are going to celebrate independence. So you know, if India wants to mourn, it’s their decision. We celebrate the independence and this is a clear position. If you look at our statement, we have clearly said that if India were so concerned about the agony and suffering and pain it should first look inside and try to address the dismal state of affairs that the Indian minorities especially Muslims and Christians and others, were subjected to in India. So, I think I can say that we have positive, forward looking approach and we expect the same from our neighbors.
Question: Will the latest situation and particularly the recent incidents in Afghanistan affect Pakistan and can we conclude from this that those anti-Pakistan forces have become active inside Pakistan which were active in the past?
My second question is about the report from EU disinformation labs. We have observed that whenever there are international events on human rights issues by United Nations or other international organizations, before that some countries for instance India starts anti-Pakistan campaigns. What will you comment on this? (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal, Media Today)
Supplementary Question: TTP is active in Swat. They have settled in areas around Swat. After the recent attacks inside Pakistan are we having any discussions with Afghanistan regarding TTP?
My second question is about Israel-Palestine conflict. Many children have been martyred by Israeli forces in Palestine. What is Pakistan’s view on the atrocities committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian Muslims like India which has been committing atrocities against Muslims? (Sardar Amir Hussain, Daily Maddar/Royal News)
Supplementary Question: It is being discussed that around 200 to 250 militants have arrived to settle in Matta, Swat and they will stay there peacefully as a result of peace deal which is being negotiated between Government of Pakistan and TTP. From this can we conclude that the peace deal has been finalized and they will be allowed to stay there peacefully as they have promised? But, it is also being reported that these militants are armed. What your comments on that? (Naveed Siddiqu, Dawn TV)
Answer: I think the questions related to TTP, the talks that were underway, they better be posed to those who are directly engaged with those processes. I don’t have any update to share with you at this point of time. What I can say though and I can repeat that this is the expectation and this was also the understanding during the detailed briefings that were given to the members of the Parliament, that this is going to be a process that will be within the ambit of the Constitution of Pakistan and taking into account the best interest of peace and stability of the country.
I think with regard to your comments about the EU DisinfoLab report, everyone knows about that. The entire matter is about disinformation. And the Indian hand in it was fully exposed. We are very much aware of it, as you would also recall that we have led a kind of an international effort to counter disinformation – the resolution that was adopted in the UN General Assembly, led by Pakistan was one example of that. We are very much conscious of this challenge. This is a reality, it happens, and you know, we need to take all the appropriate counter measures; we need to take along the members of the international community, in appreciating and realizing the dangers of such disinformation campaigns and to counter them effectively.
With regard to your question about the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for the region, I think this is evident, we know this for a long time that peace and security in the region is directly linked to the situation in Afghanistan. So we continue to watch the developments very closely, that is why our interests, our hope and our efforts are directed towards ensuring durable peace and stability in Afghanistan and the kind of engagement that we recommend to the international community, broadly the basic purpose and objective of that is to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan.
On Palestine, I wish you would have seen our statement, this was a press release issued by the Ministry, and you would have seen the statements and tweets by the Prime Minister other leaders. All this is manifestation of the years-long, very clear, unequivocal support that Pakistan has been extending to the Palestinians vis-à-vis their situation with Israel. So I think there’s absolute clarity, Pakistan has always espoused the cause of the Palestinians and we will continue to do that.
Question: Few days ago, Shaheen Sehbai has claimed that 245 suitcases full of dollars have been transferred outside Pakistan which has been rejected by the concerned Ministry. My question is that does Ministry of Foreign Affairs have any policy of taking legal action in court of law through its Missions abroad against a person, who makes such false allegations. Because, such claims are an attack on the credibility of state of Pakistan? (Raheel Nawaz Sawati, Daily Mirror)
Answer: I don’t have details but I am sure that the relevant authorities who have responded to that, they would also be considering what appropriate actions can be taken on this matter.
Question: UN human rights Chief Michelle Bachelet has issued a very strong statement particularly related to Gaza where Israeli atrocities have killed more than 19 innocent children just last week and total death toll has reached nearly 40 during this year. So regarding the child rights, the same is going on in Kashmir as well. This is genocide being done by the Israel and particularly when we talk about occupied Jammu and Kashmir it is going on there as well by Indian forces. Do we have any data available regarding how many children have been targeted by the Indian occupied forces there in occupied Kashmir? (Faisal Raza Khan, 92 News)
Answer: First of all, you referred to High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s statement on the situation in Palestine. Let me recall, because you’re comparing it with Kashmir, the High Commissioner has also issued statements and remarks with regard to the human rights situation in IIOJK on several occasions. And you may also recall that there are two reports of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Kashmir – from 2018 and 2019. We are in constant touch with the High Commissioner’s office with the expectation that given the further and continuing deterioration of human rights situation in IIOJK the Office will come up with a follow up report. So, this is something that we are pursuing and then you would have seen the joint letter that the Foreign Minister has addressed to four key personalities in the UN system; one is the High Commissioner for Human Rights. I think that many of the Special Rapporteurs and Procedures of the Human Rights Council they are already looking closely into the situation in IIOJK, especially with regard to various dimensions of human rights violations. So I think the situation of children is obviously one of them. We have figures, on you know, various kinds of violations, the number of Kashmiris martyred, women widowed and molested, and children orphaned – that number is over 100,000. So there are figures on the impact on children in IIOJK. You can consult some of the dossiers that Pakistan has presented in this regard, including the one in September last year. The issue of children and youth is particularly important, since the Kashmiri youth have been the specific target of the Indian occupation forces, with thousands of young boys incarcerated. Let me conclude by saying that this is an issue that Pakistan continues to forcefully raise with the responsible officials of the UN dealing with human rights. And this is a constant engagement. One of the proposals that you would have seen in the letter of the Foreign Minister is for the appointment of a special rapporteur to address the human rights situation in IIOJK by the Human Rights Council.
Question: Yesterday one Indian fishing vessel sunk in the Arabian Sea and Pakistan Navy rescued some Indian fishermen. Can you share whether the vessel was fishing inside Pakistani territorial water or international waters? (Muhammad Asad, the Frontier Post)
Answer: I don’t have the relevant information, we can check on that.
Question: Pakistan has worked very hard to build a fence on the Pak-Afghan border. Due to some reasons it has been damaged by a few people and consequently a large number of people are entering into Pakistani territory causing huge damage to our armed forces. Is there any joint project going-on between the Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to complete this border fence to stop this influx of terrorist having support from India in Pakistan’s territory? (Changez Khan jadoon, Daily Payam-e-Khyber)
Answer: I think for most part the fencing was complete, some percentage was yet to be completed. We think that the objective of this fencing is to control illegal border movements which are directly linked to the peace and security on either side of the border. We believe that this is in the interest of both Pakistan and Afghanistan. So to maintain the sanctity of this border and the utility of this fencing, we expect that both countries will continue to engage and continue to understand the importance of this and to move forward in a mutually beneficial way.
Last modified: August 12, 2022
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