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

Assalam-o-Alaikum & Good Morning,

Welcome to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani is in Bishkek today where he is leading the Pakistani delegation at the SCO Council of Heads of Government Meeting. The Council of Heads of Government is the second-highest forum within the SCO, with a primary focus on fostering cooperation among member states in socioeconomic, trade, and financial sectors.

Since yesterday, the Foreign Minister has met with the President and Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Vice President of Iran and the Secretary General of SCO. These exchanges covered a wide array of areas of bilateral cooperation and discussion on regional cooperation for mutual prosperity.

During the deliberations today, the Foreign Minister has reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to the “Shanghai Spirit,” emphasizing mutual trust and a shared vision for prosperity and development. He outlined Pakistan’s perspective on transport and regional connectivity, regional cooperation in youth empowerment, poverty alleviation, climate change, and disaster relief.

The Joint Communiqué, likely to be adopted at the meeting, encapsulates the collective views of SCO Member States on crucial areas such as economy, trade, climate change, finance, industry, investment, energy, agriculture and food security.

At the conclusion of today’s meeting, Pakistan will assume the Chair of the Council of Heads of Government. Our work as the Chair, starting today until autumn 2024, will be driven by our steadfast dedication to the SCO Charter and efforts for collective prosperity and development. Our focus will be on practical collaboration in bolstering connectivity, transport infrastructure, youth empowerment, poverty alleviation and the imperative of investing in high-potential sectors, including agriculture, mining, minerals, energy, and information technology.

The situation in occupied Palestine remains a source of serious concern for Pakistan. Pakistan reiterates its full and unequivocal support for our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Gaza who are at the receiving end of an inhumane campaign of collective punishment by the Israeli occupation forces. We mourn the over 6500 civilians killed in Gaza including 2700 children as a result of Israel’s relentless and indiscriminate bombardment.

We commend the services of doctors, paramedics and first responders who continue to serve their fellow human beings despite the challenging circumstances and personal hardship. We also salute the journalists and workers of UNRWA and other UN organizations for making the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

We regret that despite the rising death toll, flagrant violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes and calls for ethnic cleansing, the UN Security Council has failed to even call for a cease-fire and put an end to the carnage in Gaza.

Pakistan looks forward to today’s special emergency session of UNGA and hopes that it will play a role where the UN Security Council has failed in bringing about an urgent and unconditional ceasefire, and immediate relief to the people of Gaza, and condemn the plans for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

We urge the backers of Israel to play their role in bringing an end to this atrocity and take effective steps to lift the siege of Gaza and support a sustainable pipeline of life-saving humanitarian assistance, including water, fuel, food, and medicines for the besieged people of Gaza. The international community must also ensure that the violence and the bombing campaign do not spread and engulf the entire Middle East.

Pakistan believes that durable peace in the Middle East will emerge from a two-state solution and the creation of a secure, viable, contiguous, and sovereign state of Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

The script being enacted by Israeli occupation forces in Palestine is being replicated by India in IIOJK with egregious human rights violations and blatantly illegal attempts to change the demographic nature of the occupied territory.

Like the Palestinian people, the people of Jammu and Kashmir continue to wait for the UN Security Council to ensure the implementation of its own resolutions that recognize their right to self-determination. Rooted in the colonial past, the Jammu and Kashmir dispute like the Palestine question has been on the UN Security Council’s agenda for over seven decades.

Tomorrow, is the 76th anniversary of a dark day in the history of South Asia, when on 27 October 1947, the Indian occupation forces landed in Jammu and Kashmir. Thus, beginning a dark chapter in the lives of the Kashmiri people.

The people of Kashmir have never accepted and will never accept the illegal occupation of their land nor the systematic campaign by India to suppress them by force and to turn them into a disempowered minority in their own land.

Pakistan will continue to provide political, moral, and diplomatic support to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters until they realize their inherent right to self-determination as per the UNSC resolutions.

I thank you all!


Question: United Nations General Assembly is holding its emergency session after failure of the Security Council to address the Palestinian crisis and Israeli aggression there. What proposals Pakistan will be presenting for peace, immediate de-escalation and ensuring humanitarian passage for the innocent and oppressed people of Palestine and Gaza? (Mateen Haider, G News)

Answer: Pakistan’s position is consistent. We have said at the United Nations and the OIC that our first and topmost priority is an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and an end to the indiscriminate and inhumane bombing by the Israeli occupation forces and an end to the siege of Gaza. We believe that this is the first step that needs to be taken. We have also asked for humanitarian corridors and the pipeline for humanitarian supplies to the besieged people of Gaza. We hope that the collective punishment being imposed and the bombardment on civilians and humanitarian workers is arrested forthwith.

Question: I have two questions. Firstly, is it in your knowledge that Pakistan’s artilleries were used after the start of Russo-Ukraine Conflict in 2022.

Secondly, the Falcon Hunting Session will start from November to February in which Gulf Royals will participate. Do they pay any fee for it and to whom does this fee goes to? (Sehar Baloch, BBC Urdu)

Answer: Regarding your first question, I will reiterate that Pakistan exports its armaments under strict protocols, which includes end-user certificates. Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, Pakistan has not exported arms and ammunition to Ukraine. We do not have insight into the kind of armaments being used by either party in this conflict.

As for the hunting season and hunting of the falcons, there is a comprehensive mechanism in place that facilitates foreign dignitaries in carrying out hunting in Pakistan. This is a streamlined process, according to which recommendations are made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the provincial governments, which allocate hunting areas to the visiting dignitaries. Each province collects national fees, provides necessary security and facilitates visiting delegations. We believe that the visit of foreign dignitaries to Pakistan during the hunting season contributes to the development of socioeconomic projects in these areas and contributes to strengthening bilateral ties between Pakistan and the countries to which these dignitaries belong.

Question: Reportedly, caretaker Foreign Minister has said that Pakistan is considering to appoint a full-fledged ambassador and to elevate the Head of Mission to the ambassador positioned in Afghanistan in the absence of formal recognition of the Interim government. Would you want to comment or deny or confirm the report? (Anas Mallick, Capital TV)

Answer: As you know, Ambassador Ubaid ur Rahman Nizamani is the Head of Mission of our Embassy in Kabul, and he will continue to perform his responsibilities as the Head of Mission of Pakistan in Kabul.

Question: Security Council is the primary organ for ensuring peace and security in the world but has failed to do its duty. What expectations should we have from the UN General Assembly? Are we giving false hope to Palestinians?

Secondly, there are several organizations like the OIC, ASEAN, ECO etc. Why are they not raising a collective voice to sensitize the world of the conduct of Israel? (Shaukat Piracha, AAJ News)

Answer: I think your second question contains the answer to your first question. We are looking forward to the upcoming urgent extraordinary session of the UN General Assembly. We believe that the UN General Assembly reflects the collective voice of the international community especially since the Security Council has failed in its responsibility to call for immediate and unconditional ceasefire. It is important that the UN General Assembly as the collective voice of the international community makes such a demand and provides a land-map for peace.

Question: UN Secretary General, President of Türkiye and Amir of Qatar spoke on the dire situation of Gaza. Iran is constantly giving statements as well. The Foreign Minister of Türkiye expressed concern of the world heading toward Third World War. Will Pakistan issue its own policy statement on this? (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal, Media Today)

Answer: I just read out to you Pakistan’s policy statement. Pakistan has strongly condemned the inhumane siege of Gaza, the indiscriminate bombing of the Palestinian people, the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza, and the calls for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. We hope that the international community will urge the Israeli authorities to put an end to this carnage and violations of international humanitarian law.

Question: The way in which TTP is using Afghan soil against Pakistan, has Pakistan decided to send illegal Afghan refugees back in order to put pressure on Afghan authorities to conduct action against TTP or restrain TTP actions against Pakistan? (Allah Noor, Mashriq TV)

Answer: As I have said in the past that Pakistan has taken this decision to repatriate illegal foreigners currently in Pakistan based on our own considerations and in line with our national laws. These laws prescribe sanction and punishment of individuals illegally present in Pakistan and that includes deportation of such individuals. That is Pakistani law and the decision to implement these laws has been taken to ensure the safety and security of Pakistan and for Pakistan’s economic strength.

Question: Has the Government of Pakistan contacted the Afghan authorities on the matter of repatriation of illegal Afghan refugees? Have the necessary management and assistance been made for their relocation financially?

Secondly, 31st October is the last date for illegal Afghan refugees to return to Afghanistan. Will this deadline will be extended? (Adeel Bashir, Roze News)

Supplementary Question: How many Afghan refugees and illegal foreigners have been evacuated? Reportedly, 3000 Afghan citizens who collaborated with the coalition forces and came to Pakistan two years ago, will they be evacuated through special flights starting today. Will you provide any information on this? (Naveed Siddiqui, Dateline Islamabad)

Answer: Yes, we have communicated with the Afghan authorities on the return of illegal Afghans to their homeland. We have explained to them that this policy is not specific to Afghanistan; it pertains to all illegal foreigners irrespective of their nationality. We have also explained to them that this policy does not affect individuals who are here legally or hold confirmed status as refugees.

The Government of Pakistan has said that the repatriation plan will come into effect on the 1st of November, with not extensions.

On the supplementary question, I do not have the exact figures of Afghans who may have been repatriated or who are slated for repatriation to third countries. We remain in contact with friendly countries who have offered to take these individuals. The requests for such cases are received by the Ministry of Interior which clears these cases on visas by receiving countries. We hope that the receiving countries expedite the process of issuance of these visas.
Question: Nineteen days have passed since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. During this time, the UN Security Council could not even call for a ceasefire due to the US veto. So, do you think the structure of United Nations needs to be reformed or do you think the current UN Security Council’s structure is sustainable? (Muhammet Nazim Tasci, Anadolu Agency)

Answer: Pakistan’s position on reform of the United Nations, including the United Nations Security Council, is that it needs to be more responsive to the requirements and needs of the international community, including its proactive role in resolution of endemic disputes such as the question of Palestine and the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. We believe the expansion of the Security Council or any reform should be democratic in nature. Instead of creating new centers of privilege, we should democratize the United Nations Security Council to make it more representative, transparent, effective and accountable.

Question: Has Afghanistan’s Taliban Interim Government been in touch with Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry for the extension of the deadline for repatriation of illegal foreigners and whether they have suggested any mechanism to deal with this issue, because maybe it will not be possible, logistically, to send approximately1.7 million of such Afghans to leave Pakistan till 1st of November? I would like to have your comments on this, please. (Jaleel Akhtar, VOA)

Answer: First, I cannot confirm the figures you have quoted since we are talking about individuals who are here illegally and do not possess legal documents. Many of them would be without visas and may not have documents including passports so it is difficult to predict the exact number of individuals who are here illegally and whether they are Afghans or some other nationality.

Secondly, as I said earlier, we remain in contact with the Afghan authorities on these matters and our dialogue continues. I would not like to get into details of privileged diplomatic communications between the two countries.

Question: Do we have the figures of the people, who have voluntarily left for Afghanistan and classification of figures on the basis of provinces as to how many people have left? (Adeel Warraich, Dunya TV)

Answer: No, I don’t have exact province-wise figures. The Ministry of Interior would have those statistics.

Question: During the ICC World Cup, Indian security personnel were seen harassing Pakistani spectators. What you have to say about this? (Raziq Mehmood Bhatti, Daily Kashmir Express)

Answer: I have answered your question previously. We believe that it is the responsibility of India as the host of the ICC World Cup to provide an environment free from intimidation for Pakistani and other cricketing teams which are participating in the ICC World Cup.

Question: Pakistan’s decision was to send back illegal refugees of other nationalities in addition to Afghan refugees. So, which refugees of other nationalities have been sent to their respective countries?
Secondly, a meeting of the trilateral forum on refugees consisting of Afghanistan, the UN and Pakistan was call but Pakistan refused to attend. Can you tell us the reason why Pakistan refused to attend this meeting? (Siyar Ali Shah, Khyber News)

Answer: I am not sure which meeting you are referring to. Pakistan is continuously engaged with the trilateral mechanism between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the UNHCR to facilitate the stay of refugees in Pakistan and their repatriation to their home country in honour and dignity under a streamlined process. That is our position and I reiterate in response to your other question that this policy of repatriation of illegal foreigners does not pertain to Afghan refugees who are here legally and have confirmed refugee status.

With regards to the nationalities of foreigners to be repatriated, I would like you to refer to the Ministry of Interior. However, as I said earlier, the implementation of the repatriation plan will start on the first of November. That is when the Government of Pakistan will start repatriating the individuals who are here illegally irrespective of nationalities.

Question: Election Commission of Pakistan has formally invited foreign observers and journalists to observe the elections of Pakistan. Election Commission in its press release announced that it has adopted an open-door policy for foreign media and observers. So, my question is to what extent is it open? Can observers from any country participate including India? (Almas Haider Naqvi, Daily Dunya)

Answer: On that, I would advise you to contact the Election Commission of Pakistan, because I would not like to speak on their behalf. Although Pakistan Foreign Office has been part of this inter-agency process and has contributed to the development of this policy, I would not like to speak on this matter because that is the domain of the Election Commission. I can only add here that we will facilitate and provide visas when we are asked.

Question: Do you have any comment to make on the US decision to sanction four Chinese entities involved in facilitating Pakistan Missile System? (Ali Hussain, Business Recorder)

Answer: In the past, we have seen entities added to the Entity List on suspicion and involving uncontrolled items invoking the catch-all clauses in national export controls. As such, we do not see any new element in this latest order.
I would like to add here that such designations contradict the US policy of export control waivers granting access to India to advanced military technologies, which we believe are undermining the strategic stability in South Asia.

Question: It has been a year since senior journalist Arshad Sharif was killed in Kenya and recently the caretaker Prime Minister met the Kenyan President as well. Is there an update from the Kenyan government with regards to the investigations? (Anas Mallick, Capital TV)

Answer: Yes, I can confirm that this matter was discussed between the leadership of Pakistan and Kenya and there is a follow up at the working level. The Special Joint Investigation Team has been in touch with the Kenyan authorities and the visit of experts if required may take place.

Question: Can you inform us how much humanitarian assistance has been send to the people of Gaza and how much humanitarian assistance will be send further? Also, how many Pakistani organizations are working in Gaza? (Saqib Ali, Daily Kashmir Times)

Answer: As you know, Gaza is under siege and the route that we have followed for sending relief supplies for our brothers and sisters in Gaza is through Egypt. Pakistan has last week sent a plane load of relief supplies, which included essential medicine, blankets, and tents, which we believe are urgently required as our Palestinian brothers and sisters are living in dire circumstances and the winter is setting in.

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