Media Briefing|

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

Assalam-o-Alaikum. Thank you for joining us for the Weekly Briefing.

Let me begin with the COP27 held in Sharm-El-Sheikh (Egypt). This year’s Conference of Parties to UNFCC marked the 30th anniversary of the Convention. We are encouraged with the debate at the Conference and its outcomes.

We are particularly gratified with the decision to establish a fund to address “loss and damage” caused by climate-induced disasters to effectively address the urgent needs of developing countries. We see the consensus at COP27 as a momentous achievement, especially for the Group of 77 and China.

Developing countries have been demanding such a fund for the past 30 years. In the history of climate change negotiations, for the first time the principle for financing for loss and damage has been secured. So, in that context, this is historic.

The dedicated “Fund for Loss and Damage” will address losses and damages in developing countries, such as Pakistan, which are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impact of climate change. We look forward to early operationalization of the Fund and hope it would fill a major gap in climate finance infrastructure.

When the G77 and China met in New York in September under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, it was agreed that developing countries would make this a priority for COP 27 agenda. In the process leading up to COP27, Pakistan galvanized support for establishment of the Fund and negotiated on behalf of the developing countries at Sharm-El-Sheikh.

We congratulate the developing countries for their exemplary solidarity and steadfastness in pushing the case for a Fund for Loss and Damage. We also appreciate the understanding and cooperation of the developed countries in recognizing the urgency to act on loss and damage.

I am pleased to share with you that at the invitation of His Excellency President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif will pay a two-day official visit to Türkiye from 25-26 November 2022.

Alongside President Erdogan, the Prime Minister will jointly inaugurate the third of the four MILGEM Corvette Ships for the Pakistan Navy, PNS Khaibar, at the Istanbul Shipyard. The two leaders will also hold wide-ranging discussions encompassing bilateral relations, the regional situation and other issues of common interest.

The Prime Minister will interact with leaders of the Turkish business community. The President of the ECO Trade and Development Bank (ETDB) will also call on the Prime Minister during his stay in Istanbul.

Pakistan and Türkiye enjoy fraternal ties deeply embedded in commonalities of faith, culture and history and underpinned by exceptional cordiality and mutual trust. The MILGEM project, based on joint collaboration between the two countries, represents a significant milestone in the Pakistan-Türkiye strategic partnership that continues to progress on an upward trajectory.

The launching ceremony for the first Corvette for the Pakistan Navy, PNS Babur, was performed in Istanbul in August 2021while the groundbreaking for the second ship, PNS Badr, was held at Karachi in May 2022.

Frequent leadership level exchanges are a defining feature of the eternal bonds of Pakistan-Türkiye friendship. The Prime Minister earlier visited Türkiye in May -June 2022.

An important development this week has been the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the Dominican Republic. A formal Joint Communiqué was signed to this effect on 18th November 2022 in New York by the Permanent Representatives of Pakistan and the Dominican Republic. We believe that the establishment of diplomatic relations will open new avenues of cooperation between the two countries in diverse fields and areas of mutual interest.

Establishment of diplomatic relations with the Dominican Republic is part of our efforts to expand diplomatic engagement around the world. Last year, Pakistan established formal diplomatic relations with the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) of Kiribati and Palau. Since March last year, Pakistan has opened five new Missions in Africa as part of our Engage Africa policy initiative. Pakistan intends to continue to increase its diplomatic engagement in all continents.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar participated in the Ministerial Meeting of the 9th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), held in Morocco from 22-23 November 2022.

The Global Forum is the highest profile event of the UN Alliance of Civilizations which was created in 2005 to advance mutual respect for all cultures, traditions and religious beliefs. On the sidelines of this year’s event, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs met with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Kairat Omarov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Waleed ElKhereiji and Portugese Foreign Minister João Cravinho.

At the Forum, the Minister of State articulated Pakistan’s perspective and concerns about the growing problem of religious intolerance, discrimination, Islamophobia and violence worldwide. She highlighted the importance of continued and robust inter-civilization and inter-faith dialogue as a catalyst to promote peaceful co-existence, mutual understanding, and harmony.

During the last week Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif conveyed his warm felicitations to H.E.Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan on his re-election as President in the elections held on 20th November 2022. Pakistan will continue to maintain its close relationship with Kazakhstan.

Prime Minister has also extended our heartiest felicitations to H.E. Anwar Bin Ibrahim, on his appointment as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia after the recent general elections. Pakistan attaches great importance to its fraternal ties with Malaysia and welcomes the peaceful election and transition process that reflects the strength of Malaysia as a strong democracy.

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have expressed condolences at the tragic news of the earthquake and resultant loss of precious lives in Indonesia. We express deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured. Pakistan stands in solidarity with the brotherly people and the government of Indonesia in this moment of national tragedy.

As you are aware, Pakistan follows a policy of dialogue and friendship with countries in Asia & Pacific. An important pillar of this policy is participation in and engagement with regional organizations and forums.

A delegation from Pakistan is participating in the 43rd ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-43) from 20-25 November 2022 in Cambodia. The Pakistan delegation is led by Member National Assembly, Mr. Salahuddin.

You would recall that Pakistan was granted observer status of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly last year. Our participation in AIPA-43, therefore, carries special significance. In addition to participating in AIPA-43 Plenary in its capacity as an Observer, Pakistan also attended the dialogue of AIPA with Observer Parliaments.

Pakistan’s observership of AIPA and its participation in AIPA-43 reflects the importance that Pakistan accords to its relationship with ASEAN and its keen desire to enhance its engagement with members of ASEAN.

Pakistan also participated in another regional forum — the Third China-South Asia Cooperation Forum (CSACF) held in hybrid format on the sidelines of the 6th China-South Asia Expo. Participants included Foreign Ministers and Senior Officials of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Pakistan strongly rejects India’s unwarranted remarks made against Pakistan at the Security Council briefing yesterday.

Unfortunately, India continues to abuse its non-permanent membership of UN Security Council and the Chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) to target Pakistan through false narratives and malicious propaganda.

India’s irresponsible behavior at the Security Council during its non-permanent membership confirms that it does not have the competence nor the wisdom to qualify as a permanent member of the Security Council.

We have not seen any improvement in the situation in IIOJK as it remains under military siege and Indian oppression there continues unabated. Carrying on with their spree of extra judicial killings, last week the Indian occupation forces killed two Kashmiri youth in fake encounters in Islamabad and Shopian districts of IIOJK. Indian occupation forces are also engaged in killing innocent youth while in custody. These developments are of serious concern for Pakistan.

We are also deeply concerned about the welfare of Kashmiri political prisoners including APHC leaders and Human rights defenders. It is important that their rights are protected and they are immediately released.

You may have also noted that twelve international human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have jointly raised their voice for immediate and unconditional release of human rights defender Khurram Parvez who is currently incarcerated in the infamous Tihar jail.

India must end its gross and systematic violations of human rights in IIOJK, revoke its illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019, and free all political prisoners including the true Kashmiri leaders.

Thank you.


Question: There are gross human rights violations being committed in IIOJK. On the Kashmir Curfew Clock in front of Serena Hotel, 1200 days have passed since India took illegal actions in IIOJK? What are your views on that? (Shakeel Kalyana, Dunyanama News)

Answer: As I have just said in my opening statement, we have not seen any improvement in the situation in IIOJK as it remains under military siege and Indian oppression there continues unabated. Carrying on with their spree of extra judicial killings, last week the Indian occupation forces killed two Kashmiri youth in fake encounters in Islamabad and Shopian districts of IIOJK. Indian occupation forces are also engaged in killing innocent Kashmiri youth while in custody. These developments are of serious concern for Pakistan. We are also deeply concerned about the welfare of Kashmiri political prisoners including APHC leaders and Human rights defenders. It is important that their rights are protected and they are immediately released. India must end its gross and systematic violations of human rights in IIOJK, revoke its illegal and unilateral actions of 5thAugust 2019, and free all political prisoners including the true Kashmiri leaders.

Question: On the “Loss and Damage” Fund adopted at COP-27, can you share details regarding how much of the actual loss incurred in recent floods would be recovered by Pakistan under this fund and which countries will be contributing to this fund? ​(Shahzad Hassan Mirza, Daily Media)

Answer: As you are aware, the decision to establish the Loss and Damage Fund was taken only a few days back at COP-27 at the leadership level. Parties also agreed to establish a transitional committee which will make recommendations on how to operationalize the Fund and determine its terms of references in terms of new funding arrangements and the disbursement mechanism. Once these details are ironed out, we will be able to predict the future funding situation.

Question: Since last 2 months a number of attacks have been done from Afghanistan side on our border security forces in which around 221 officers and soldiers have embraced martyrdom. Can you share details regarding any involvement of foreign hand particularly by RAW and MOSSAD in these incidents? (Sohail Rana, Daily Post and Baadban)

Supplementary Question: Since the interim government has come to power in Afghanistan, Pakistan has showed a lot of patience on incidents of damaging of border fence and attack on Pakistani security forces that has become a regular affair. At present, the situation is quite tense at Kharlachi border. Security forces of both sides are face to face with each other, huge deployment has been done and both sides have informed local people to move to safer areas. Can you share some details on this? (Ali Hussain, Business Recorder)

Answer: It is true there were some issues at Pakistan-Afghanistan border. You must have seen statements from the local administration. The two sides are holding regular border flag meetings and are engaged in discussion at various levels, including Kharlachi Border Crossing Point. We remain seized of the matter and will share further details as the situation evolves.

On the Chaman Border Crossing Point, you must be aware that it was reopened on Monday following discussions between the two sides at Border Flag Meetings. Key focus of these meetings was to clear pedestrian traffic and trade consignments. The Afghan side has communicated its serious regret over the incident and has constituted a high-level committee comprising of the Afghan Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Border and Tribal Affairs, local Chambers of Commerce and tribal elders to investigate the incident and avoid recurrence. Further details on the matter will be shared.

Question:​India has violated Indus Water Treaty time and again. Can you share any update on the issue of Kishanganga Dam, in the light of recent discussions in U.S. on this matter?

Secondly, for trade with various countries to procure goods at cheaper prices, what is Pakistan’s trade policy? Do we make independent decisions or we look towards other countries for making these decisions? (Khawaja Nayyer Iqbal, Media Today)

Answer: Like all countries, Pakistan makes decisions regarding its trade policy independently and we look after our national interest while taking such decisions. In doing so, we engage with different markets on the basis of our strengths and after analyzing which markets need our special focus. For any particular details you may reach out to the Ministry of Commerce.

Regarding your question on the Kishanganga hydropower project, you must be aware that the World Bank has a special responsibility with respect to the Indus Waters Treaty. We believe that India has developed this project in violation of the Treaty. Pakistan is very closely engaged with World Bank on this issue. We have noted the recent progress on nomination of a court of arbitration and look forward to a judicious settlement.

Question: ​It has been reported in media that two important individuals in Pakistan, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar have been barred from travelling abroad and as a consequence Prime Minister’s visit to Turkiye can also be called off. Can you share some details on this? (Sardar Awais Ashraf, Daily Haqeeqat)

Answer: ​I already shared in my opening statement that Prime Minister’s visit to Turkiye is taking place as planned. He will be departing tomorrow for a two-day official visit to Turkiye.

Question:​Since yesterday a statement by Indian Lt. Gen. Upendra Dwivedi regarding Azad Kashmir is circulating on twitter which says that, “As far as the Indian Army is concerned, it will carry out any order given by the Government of India. Whenever such orders are given, we will always be ready for it.” What are your comments on that?

Secondly, Pakistan High Commission in London has paid more than 82 million rupees which was fined to NAB in broadsheet case. Foreign Office has been unable to retrieve this money from NAB. What are the reasons for that? (Rizwan Abbasi, Daily Jinnah)

Answer: On your first question, you must have seen the statement issued by ISPR. I would invite you to refer to that statement. I would only like to add that the statement by the Indian military official is a manifestation of India’s aggressive designs towards Pakistan and its bullying attitude towards its neighbors.

On your second question, I will share the details in due course.

Question: ​Will Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari accompany the Prime Minister for his visit to Turkiye? If he is not, then what are those engagements due to which he will not be accompanying the Prime Minister? (Mohsin ul Mulk, 24 News)

Answer: We will share details with you separately.

Question: ​First, on my question from last week regarding Georgia that there were some arrests of multinationals that included Pakistani national as well, pertaining to the alleged assassination plot of an Israeli businessman. Can you share any update on that?

Secondly, two days back we saw the brutal murder of a police man in Karachi by a dual national of Pakistan descent and holding a Swedish nationality as well. Karachi police have said that they will be approaching the Swedish government through the foreign office. Can you please update us on the matter? (Anas Mallick, Capital TV)

Answer: On your second question, I do not have information that I can share at this point.

On you first question regarding Georgia, I can share with you that we are in contact with the authorities in Georgia and trying to ascertain the details. Once we have more details to share, we will inform you.

Question:​Can you share any update regarding the joint investigation being conducted by Pakistani and Kenyan authorities on the brutal murder of journalist Arshad Sharif. Also, it was reported that belongings of Mr. Arshad Sharif were not handed over to Pakistani authorities by the Kenyan authorities. Can you share exact status regarding this matter? (Azaz Syed, Geo News)

Answer: I would like to underline that this is a police case. Law enforcement authorities of both countries have a channel of communication; they are already engaged with each other and are discussing these matters and other outstanding issues. Ministry of Foreign Affairs is facilitating the process wherever required. For further details on this case and state of investigations, you may contact the Ministry of Interior.

Question: ​There was a huge controversy on watch gifted to ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan by Saudi Crown Prince, and many political leaders have stated that Saudi government has expressed displeasure on the resale of this gift. Can you confirm whether the Saudi Government has officially shared any displeasure on this matter or these reports are not correct? (Amir Saeed Abbasi, Dunya TV)

Answer: I already answered to this question in the last briefing and you may refer to that.

Question: A medical student in Afghanistan Elaha Dilawarzai has claimed that Saeed Khosty a person close to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the current Afghan interior raped her and was subjected to brutal torture, after that she escaped to Pak – Afghan border where Pakistani authorities contacted the Taliban and she was sent back to Afghanistan. Can you share some details on this? ​(Zulqarnain Haider, ARY News)

Answer: I have no particular details regarding this incident. We can share our reaction once more details are available.

Question:​Many weeks have passed and the appointment of Foreign Secretary has not been finalized. What are the reasons for that? Is it political interference or there is any other issue? (Allah Noor, Mashriq TV)

Answer: This is a decision taken at very senior levels. What I can share with you is that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is continuing to perform its functions to the best of its abilities as we have always done in the past.

Question: Recently Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has congratulated Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister on huge victory against Argentina in the FIFA World Cup 2022 group match. Can you share whether visit of Crown Prince was also discussed by Prime Minister or any schedule has been finalized?

Secondly, Pakistani armed forces are providing security during the FIFA World Cup, and at the same time 8 Indian Navy officials have been arrested by Qatari authorities on charges of espionage for Israel. Can you share some details on this as a similar case of Kulbhushan Yadav also happened in Pakistan? (Asghar Ali Mubarak, The Daily Mail International/World Echo News)

Answer: We congratulate the State of Qatar for being the first Muslim and Arab country to host the FIFA World Cup 2022. Pakistan is assisting the Qatari government in security for the World Cup. We wish them a great tournament.

You may have seen the tweet of the Prime Minister congratulating Saudi Arabia on their recent victory. They have our best wishes for the rest of the tournament.

The second matter you have raised does not pertain to the security being provided by the Pakistani contingent for the FIFA World Cup. Qatari authorities would be in a better position to share details about the circumstances of these arrests. As for us, we have no illusions about India’s role in terms of terrorism in Pakistan and its designs to create instability in Pakistan.

Question: ​On the situation at Pak-Afghan border we frequently see that Pakistani forces are attacked from the Afghan side. Did any discussion take place recently between both governments on these issues? (Khawaja Nayyer Iqbal, Media Today)

Answer: I have already responded to a previous question on this issue. Our discussions take place regularly with Afghan authorities at various levels. These discussions are ongoing including on the recent incident which took place at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Border flag meetings have also been held between the two sides and an understanding was reached. The Afghan side has conveyed its regrets on the incident that took place; it also constituted a committee to investigate the incident and to make sure that such incidents do not occur in future. We continue to engage with the Afghan side including through our Embassy in Afghanistan and the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad.

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