November 20, 2014| Media Briefing|
(2014-11-20)[This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated]
There are no opening remarks. The floor is open for Questions
We have heard that Pakistan delegation is taking its own car for the upcoming SAARC Summit. Why was it needed? Secondly, what is the schedule of the meetings of the Prime Minster with his counterparts from SAARC countries? Is there any meeting with Indian side at level of Foreign Secretary, Adviser or Prime Minister? (Shaukat Paracha, AAJ TV)
After visiting the Working Boundary, Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee has demanded that the Prime Minister should raise the issue of frequent Indian violations during the SAARC Summit. Should we hope that this will be discussed on this regional forum? (Mateen Haider, Dawn News)
As we confirmed earlier, the Prime Minister will attend the SAARC Summit. The format of the SAARC Summit is that the Programming Committee will meet on 22 November, on 23rd and 24th the Standing Committee will meet, which the Foreign Secretary will attend. The meeting of the Council of Ministers will take place on the 25th, to which our delegation will be led by the Adviser, which will be followed by the two-day Summit on 26-27. As for the administrative arrangements, we have seen media reports that a vehicle was offered and the offer was refused. Nothing of this sort has happened. No vehicle was offered by India and no offer was declined. Nepal is the host country of the SAARC Summit. I understand their Ambassador has clarified the situation to you. Earlier, the Nepalese Foreign Ministry had also done that. Every country has its own security and protocol procedures. In this case, we are following our own security manual and protocol.
As regard meetings, I can confirm the meeting with the leadership of the host country. Apart from that I do not have the details of other meetings. During the Summit and retreat, leaders do interact.
As regard bilateral meetings with Indian, we do not have anything to share with you.
Your question regarding violations on the Line of Control, Jammu & Kashmir is a dispute on the United Nations Security Council. UNSC is the organ of the United Nations, responsible for peace and security. You would recall that the Adviser wrote a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations to be more actively involved because that is its mandate. We have kept the P-5 and other capitals informed as well. The SAARC Charter, I understand, does not have any provision for discussing conflicts.
According to my information, Pakistan Ambassador to UAE issued B-type visas to some members of the Royal family for hunting purposes in Pakistan. Their entourage reportedly involved three Indians who were stopped at Karachi Airport and they were not allowed to travel inside Pakistan. Would you please share some details in this regard?
(Syed Mohsin Raza, SUCH TV)
I am not aware about this particular case that you are talking about. I will check and get back to you.
According to recently released Global Terrorism Index by Institute for Economics and Peace, Pakistan is third most affected country. The report has stated that social injustices and poverty are the major reasons for growing terrorism in Pakistan. Your comments please (Saima Shabbir, Aljazeera TV)
There is no doubt that Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism. More than 55 thousand people have been killed. We are, as we have stated a number of times, we are undertaking a very comprehensive and robust action against terrorists. We are confident that when we are through with our counter terrorism operations, Pakistan will be a much safer and peaceful place. There are many factors which breed terrorism -some external and some internal. In the context of Pakistan, the terrorism we have faced is because of the events in our region in the last three decades. There is poverty in Pakistan as it in many other countries. We have been striving to meet the millennium development goals. Our efforts have been thwarted by repeated natural disasters and of course terrorism. We cannot say any one factor is responsible. Of course, under development, lack of opportunities and unemployment play a role. That is why economic and social development is part of our counter terrorism strategy. Social and political injustices are also ingrained in the global economic system. We have to look at these issues holistically.
The recent visit of the Afghan President is being considered as very successful but we do not see any Agreement signed between the two countries. The only document signed, is agreed minutes on trade. Does this document have legal validity? (Fayyaz Chaudhery, APP)
The agreed minutes contain 42 decisions and they cover a broad range in trade, economy, and connectivity. They are agreements like CASA-1000 signed earlier and many ongoing projects under funds Pakistan has allocated for reconstruction and development in Afghanistan. This was a very successful visit. It was rich not only in symbolism but also in substance. A number of areas have been identified in which the two countries will be working together very closely. The visit has enhanced and cemented the understanding on our common interest.
What is the latest at the Working Boundary and LoC? Can you apprise about the outcome of UNMOGIP report about the LoC fire exchanges and the Adviser’s letter to the UN Secretary General about this situation? (Zarghoon shah (Geo TV)
UNMOGIP paid visits to the LOC and Working Boundary. They send their report to the UN. As regard, the letter and the subsequent engagements, our Permanent Representative and our Mission have remained in contact with the relevant UN officials. As regard the current situation, we have not heard of any sustained violations by India but you may like to check with the ISPR.
Russia recently approved the grant of MI 35 gunship helicopters to Pakistan. Will this approval strengthen the ties between two countries, as Russia is already bearing sanctions from the European Union and America due to the Ukrainian crises? (Abbas, Russia Today TV)
Grant would be the wrong word. Pakistan looks at Russia as a very important global player and a country that has an important role in this region’s peace and stability. We have been forging very good cooperation. Our bilateral relations are on an upward trajectory and it’s not just defense, we are looking at cooperation across the board. On many international issues we have convergence of views. We are part of the like-minded group in Human Rights Council. We would like to see greater Russian participation in economic development projects and investment in Pakistan. There are various initiatives in the works.
Can you please confirm if a visit is due by the Russian Defence Minister to Pakistan? Any details you could offer about this visit. Also, you spoke on length about the successful visit of the Afghan President to Pakistan and you said that there are a number of issues that two countries are going to address for moving forward but what is the priority area for Pakistan to deal with when it comes to moving forward with Afghanistan, a very important neighbor?(Waqas Rafique, Capital TV)
The Russian Defence Minister is already here. The focal point for this visit is the Ministry of Defence. You may like to check with them for details.
As regard Afghanistan, well a very close, cooperative relationship with Afghanistan is a priority for Pakistan. Peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is a priority for Pakistan. That is in our national interest. As it is quite often said by the leadership of the two sides our destiny is interlinked. Therefore, we are looking forward to working with Afghanistan very closely in multiple areas. We have historical, religious and cultural links and we would like to build on these links, develop economic projects, beneficial for both countries and strengthen people to people contacts. We have offered about 3000 scholarships to Afghan students.
When these Afghan students are expected to come here in Pakistan? (Saima Shabbir, Aljazeera TV)
Well, they will probably come when the academic year starts.
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