Media Briefing|

(2019-10-03) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated]

Bismillah Ir Rehman Nir Rahim,


Let me begin by giving a brief round-up of the events on the foreign policy front;

The Indian Occupation Forces in their recent acts of state terrorism have martyred more than 13 Kashmiris including Akhlaq Ahmad Khan, Yawar Ahmed Butt, Muhammad Shameem, Ulfat Altaf, Sajjad Ahmad Malik, Qamar Din, Javeed Rashid, Zahoor-ul Haq Butt, Osama Bin Javed, Zahid Hussain Sagar, Bilal Ahmed Dar, in Pulwama, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Ramban, and Kathua districts of the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K). There are reports of more deaths but due to complete communication blackout the exact details are not coming out of the Indian occupied Valley.

The Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir remains under siege and cut off from the rest of the world for the 61st consecutive day (since the lockdown was imposed on 4th August 2019) as the Indian occupation forces continue to impose an unprecedented military lock down and total clampdown of both road networks and all means of communications, which risk lives of the people. These inhuman and unilateral actions by India are continuing without any respite despite international condemnation and censure.

We condemn this unprecedented communication blockade and clampdown in IOJ&K and impress upon the international community to take cognizance of the continuing blatant human rights violations by the Indian Occupation Forces.

As Director General (SA & SAARC), I summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Gaurav Ahluwalia, on 14th and 30th September and on 1st October 2019 and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces along the Line of Control (LoC). These violations were perpetrated in the Nezapir, BagsarNikial, Rakhchikri and Jandrot sectors, which resulted in multiple shahadats and injuries.

In an important development, adelegation of the Taliban Political Commission (TPC) in Doha called on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi today. The delegation was led by the head of TPC Maulana Abdul Ghani Baradar and included senior members of the Commission. This is first ever visit of a Taliban delegation to Pakistan since the establishment of the TPC.

Mr.Qureshi noted that Pakistan would continue to support all efforts to achieve permanent peace in Afghanistan which was essential for Pakistan’s own socio-economic development and progress. He said that an inclusive peace and reconciliation process, involving all sections of the Afghan society, was the only, practical way forward and noted that the direct Taliban-US talks since last year, strongly and sincerely supported by Pakistan, had now laid a firm ground for achieving a sustainable peace deal in Afghanistan.

Thanking Pakistan for the hospitality, the TPC delegation appreciated Pakistan’s support for peace in Afghanistan. Both sides agreed on the need for earliest resumption of the peace process. Foreign Minister reiterated Pakistan’s commitment and continued strong support for all efforts in this regard.

Moving forward, the Prime Minister of Pakistan concluded a seven days long successful visit to New York to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which primarily focused on the horrifying human rights situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister had several high-level engagements with various world leaders, heads of international human rights organization and other institutions.Apart from these engagements, the Prime Minister also interacted with international media outlets, including engagements with editorial boards and leading think-tanks. Some of his notable interactions include meeting with the President of USA, President of Iran, Prime Minister of Italy, President of the Swiss Confederation, Turkish President, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, President of Egypt, Prime Minister of Malaysia, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Prime Minister of Norway, UN Secretary General António Guterres and several other international leaders.

Similarly, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also spent a very active week in New York and held several significant engagements on the sidelines of UNGA, whereby he met with his counterparts from various countries, international leaders and heads of important institutions etc. that include meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Bahrain, China, Côte d’Ivoire, EU, Estonia, Iran, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Turkey, UAE, and meetings with President and CEO of international Crisis Group, President of the United Nations General Assembly. Apart from this, the Foreign Minister also addressed the United Nations Security Council’s Ministerial debate, led the Pakistan delegation to Ministerial meeting of OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir and actively engaged with national and international media. The Foreign Minister successfully sensitized the international community about the continuing Indian atrocities in IOJ&K and convincingly presented Pakistan’s comprehensive position on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute.

Moving forth, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir met on the sidelines of the 74th session of UN General Assembly and issued an important joint communiqué, in which they expressed deep concern over the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation IOJ&K.

Lastly, Pakistan congratulated the people and government of Afghanistan on successful holding of the 4th Presidential elections. The people of Afghanistan particularly deserve appreciation for their clear decision to continue with the democratic course despite serious hurdles and challenges. We sincerely hope that the new government elected through a free, fair and transparent voting process will enjoy the full mandate to take the stalled peace process forward. This is important for ending the 18 years old conflict through an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned negotiated political settlement. Pakistan will continue to facilitate the new Afghan government towards this end.

Question: Both the Taliban and American delegations are in Islamabad, presently. American expectations from Pakistan are quite clear, what are Pakistan’s expectations from the United States, especially in the wake of Indian revocation of Articles 370 and 35A in the Indian Occupied Jammu& Kashmir? (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal – Media Today)

Supplementary Questions:

Since both the Special Envoy of the United States and Taliban delegation are in town, is Pakistan facilitating revival of scuttled peace talks?What are the prospects of revival of peace talks? (Mr. Muhammad Jaleel–VoA)

Will the Taliban delegation be meeting the Prime Minister as well?(Mr. Amjad Ali–PTV News)

Would you please inform us whether the visiting Taliban delegation has the confidence and support of all factions of Taliban? (Mr. Khalid Mehmood–Express News)

Would you please clarify whether the visiting Taliban delegation coming from Qatar,where they faced deadlock, will continue their talks with the United States? Similarly, will the United States be playing a facilitative role between India and Pakistan with regard to the deadlock in the Indianoccupied Jammu & Kashmir(Mr. Asghar Ali Mubarak – Daily Mail)

Is there any meeting planned, in Islamabad, between the Taliban delegation and US Special Envoy Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad? (Mr. Khudai Noor Nasar – BBC)

Was it Pakistani or American initiative to invite theTaliban Political Commission (TPC) to Pakistan?(Mr. Zargoon Shah – Geo News)

Answer: In response to all these questions, I would like to refer to the detailed press release that we have issued in this regard, today. Most of the questions have been dealt with, in the said press release. I would not like to comment on those questions which have not been catered for in the press release, as this is a highly sensitive and delicate process that is being handled in a careful manner.

Question: As announced, the Royal Couple will be visiting Pakistan in October. Will you please share some details in this regard? (Khawaja Nayyar Iqbal – Media Today)

Answer: The details of this visit will be shared soon.

Question: Indian National Security Advisor, AjitDoval, met with Saudi Crown Prince. Reportedly in this meeting the Saudi Crown Prince has endorsed the Indian position on Jammu & Kashmir? Secondly, why was Pakistan not able to table a Resolution in the Human Rights Council? (Ms. Rashida Sial – AabTakk)

Answer: I cannot comment on press reports. The Saudi position on this matter is clear and is reflected in the Joint Communiqué issued by the OIC Contact Group on Jammu& Kashmir, of which Saudi Arabia is a very important member. This Communiqué is a testament of Muslim Ummah’s position on the Jammu & Kashmir Dispute.

In response to your second question, we have already explained the position. A lot of efforts are being made in this regard. I would like to reiterate that the struggle for Jammu and Kashmir is a process and not an event.Our efforts will continue.

Question: Why was Dr. Maleeha Lodhi removed as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations despite the Prime Minister’s successful visit that she ably arranged?Why was Mr. Munir Akram appointed in her place despite allegations against him and when will he proceed to New York?(Mr. Mateen Haider – G-News)

Answer: I believe that Dr. Maleeha Lodhi was replaced after the completion of her tenure. Unfortunately, there has been a slander campaign against the appointment of Ambassador Munir Akram, which is reprehensible. It must be noted that he is a distinguished and experienced member of Foreign Service of Pakistan and an eminent diplomat.His contributions are internationally acknowledged and recognized.He will assume his duties in New York soon.

Question: Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to visit China next week on a three days bilateral visit, where he will be holding key meetings with top Chinese leadership including the Chinese President. Can you please share details of this visit? (Mr. Adeel Warraich–Dunya News)

Answer: I will check the details and get back to you.

Question: Do you expect headway on the finalization of agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor?(Mr. Anas Mallick – WION TV)

Answer: I will update you in due course.

Question: Muslim Ummah including countries such as Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and others have not come out in complete support of Pakistan on the Jammu and Kashmir Dispute. Your comments please?(Mr. Zahid Farooq Malik – Daily Metro Watch)

Answer: I would like to reiterate that Muslim countries and OIC have repeatedly issued statements in favor of Kashmiris and Pakistan. The ummah stands with the Kashmiri people.

Question: Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that he will play a mediatory role between Iran and the United States, on American request. What was the response of these countries especially Iran? Can you please share details on this?(Mr. Sheraz Asghar – IRNA)

Answer: The American president requested Prime Minister Khan to help in mediating a solution between USA and Iran. PM Khan supports a negotiated and amicable solution to the US-Iran stand-off. Pakistan will continue to urge all sides to resolve issues through dialogue.

Question: The Foreign Minister stated that Pakistan will table a Resolution in the Human Rights Council at an appropriate time. When is the Foreign Office planning to table thisResolution? (Mr. Zaheer – Samaa TV)

Answer: As mentioned earlier a lot of work is being undertaken on highlighting the Jammu & Kashmir dispute at all forums. We have been and will continue to keep all of you informed as we proceed in the matter.

Question: Has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs raised the issue of discriminatory policies by Twitter, against the Kashmiris and their supporters? Have you received any reply from them? (Mr. Nauman Ishfaq Mughal – Daily Parliament Time)

Answer: We have raised this issue with the Twitter administration and are awaiting their reply.

Question: The Saudi plane carrying Prime Minister Imran Khan and his entourage returned to New York after developing a technical fault when the airplane was near Europe while heading to Pakistan. Would you please share why instead of landing in Europe the plane flew back to New York?

Secondly, the visa on arrival and E-visa services introduced by the government are not fully functioning and there are many problems. Your comments please?

Lastly, numerous men and women sacrificed their lives in the war against terror. But now Pakistan is recognizing Taliban, an entity which is a state within a state in Afghanistan. Your comments please? (Mr. Sib Kaifee – Arab News)

Answer: The plane returned to the nearest airport after developing a technical fault. In this case, New York was the closest and most plausible destination, logistically.

In response to your second question, I have no such information. I will check and revert.

Lastly, I have commented on the question regarding Afghanistan and would not like to add anything further.

Question: What is the purpose of Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad’s visit to Pakistan? (Mr. Essa Naqvi – Indus TV)

Answer: I have no comments on this.

Question: What is the schedule of the Taliban delegation visiting Pakistan? Can you just tell the dates of their return? (Mr. Ali Hussain – Business Recorder)

Answer: Pakistan wants a pacific settlement of the Afghan dispute. I cannot share any further detailsin the matter.

Question: Pakistan suspended its trade relations with India; however, two SROs were issued for the import of medicinal drugs. Can you please share some details on this? (Mr. Naveed Akbar – Aaj News)

Answer: I will check the details and revert.

Question: As announced, Pakistan has invited Mr. Manmohan Singh for the Opening Ceremony of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. Will you invite Prime Minister Modi as well? (Mr. Adeel Warraich–Dunya News)

Answer: Former Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh has been invited to the opening ceremony.

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