Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 22 June 2017
(2017-06-22) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]
Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum
I wish to congratulate all Pakistanis at home and abroad and to you all on Pakistan Cricket Team's convincing win against India.
Today, reportedly, 3 more Kashmiri youth have been martyred in Indian occupied Kashmir. Earlier during last few days, Indian occupation forces had martyred 8 Kashmiris [[including a 14 year old grade 8 student, Ehsan Mushtaq Dar, 18-year Adil Mushtaq Mir, 22-year Muhammad Ashraf Khar, 22-year-old Junaid Matoo, Naseer Wani, 22-year old Naseer Ahmed Sheikh, Gulzar Ahmad and Basit Ahmad at Arwani, Bijbehera]] and injured over two hundred including dozens with pellets and bullets after Indian forces used brute force on defenseless Kashmiris in Srinagar, Sopore, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, Islamabad, Hajin, Kupwara areas.
Over fifty political detainees in Kathua Jail Jammu are in life threatening conditions and not allowed to receive relatives. World human rights organizations, Kashmiri organizations etc. should send fact-finding missions to IOK. Hurriyat Leadership continues to remain either in detention or under arrest.
Kashmiris in IOK, who were celebrating Pakistan's victory in final of ICC Championship on June 18 against India, were beaten up and tortured by the Indian occupation forces. Indian troops barged into houses in Shopian, Kulgam, Bandipora and Pampore areas and vandalized property and repeatedly subjected the inmates to ruthless torture. This is highly deplorable.
This Eid, while we celebrate with our loved ones, we must remember oppressed Kashmiris in IoK, particularly the children, victims of pellet guns, those orphaned, and send them our support and prayers, and our appreciation for remaining undeterred in the face of atrocities perpetrated by the Indian forces.
Foreign Affairs Adviser, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, has written letters to the UNSG, President UNSC, UNHC for Human Rights, Geneva and SG OIC to update them on human rights violations perpetrated by the Indian forces in IOK and the despicable episode of a Kashmiri, Farooq Ahmed Dar, who was tied to the jeep as a human shield.
We have always known and spoken of false flag operations carried out by Indian military, state and intelligence institutions to implicate Pakistan in self-staged acts of terrorism. These are done often close to VVIP visits to India, Pakistan and other countries in the region. One of such incidents is Chhittisingh Pura of gruesome killing of 35 Sikhs in March 2000 just before the visit of President Clinton to the region. Today, this has been proven by the interview given by Lt. Gen. K.S. Gill in which he has confirmed that the incident was stage-managed by the Indian army.
Now the Floor is open for Questions
Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said "we care about human life and make sure human rights are not violated". It is a white lie and rather 'Joke of the year'. Your comments please! [Also asked by Tariq Mahmood]
Secondly, how does Pakistan see the change of crown prince in Saudi Arabia? (Khawaja Nayaar Iqbal - Kashmir Post)
I think such claims should be judged in the light of the situation on ground. The facts of the matter are that since 1947 Indian occupation forces have killed over a million Kashmiris. Since 1990, killings of innocent Kashmiris touched the figure of 100,000 while since 8 July last year alone more than 150 Kashmiris have been brutally killed, thousands have injured, several hundreds have been blinded, completely or partially, whereabouts of thousands arrested arbitrarily is unknown and hundreds of women have been dishonoured. These atrocities continue unabated with impunity. The grave human rights situation in India has raised international concern, the manifestation of which is constant coverage of the atrocities perpetrated by the Indian forces in IOK in the international media and social media despite restrictions imposed by the unlawful authorities there, debates in foreign parliaments and activities organized by the members of civil society in various countries to condemn India. Statements expressing concerns have been issued by the international forums.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has congratulated His Royal Highness Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on his appoint as a Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Reuters has very cautiously reported that Trump's administration is ready to harden its approach toward Pakistan to crack down on Pakistan-based militants launching attacks in neighboring Afghanistan. Your comments please!
Secondly, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in his recent statement, condemned the continued and alarming use of violence by the Indian security forces in the Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) against the innocent Kashmiris. How Pakistan looks at this statement? (Shaukat Paracha - Aaj News)
As you know, we do not comment on media reports from this podium. I would nevertheless like to note that Pakistan attaches importance to its relationship with the US, which is longstanding and encompasses cooperation in various fields. We firmly believe that continued close cooperation between our two countries is critical for promoting peace and security in the region and beyond. On terrorism, I would like to point out that our counter-terrorism operations are driven by our own national interest and are directed against all terrorists without discrimination and distinction. It remains our firm resolve not to let our soil be used against any country. We are determined to that end.
Responding to your second question, the OIC has always supported the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their struggle for right to self determination, which has been promised to them in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir dispute. Several resolutions and joint communiqués of OIC exist that not only condemn Indian barbarity in IoK but also emphasize the resolution of Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. As you would recall the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) visited Muzafarrabad in March 2017. The IPHRC had also requested India to visit IoK response to which is awaited. The IPHRC will present its report to the OIC shortly.
Pakistan has consistently highlighted the continuing gross human rights violations of innocent Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces in IoK. We call upon the international community, especially our brethren in OIC to urge India to put a stop to the brutalities in IoK.
Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal is reported to have stated that key officials from Afghanistan will visit to Pakistan after Eid to enhance interaction between the leadership of two countries. Please share details in this regard! (Amjad Ali - PTV News)
You are aware that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Afghan President on the sideline of SCO Summit in Astana. Both the leaders agreed to use Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) mechanism as well as bilateral channels to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan through mutual consultations. There had been visits from Pakistan side including a high level Parliamentary delegation led by the Speaker National Assembly. Senior Officials also participated in the Kabul Process recently and on the sidelines very constructive bilateral meetings were also held. We would welcome visits from Afghanistan for strengthening our bilateral relations.
Reportedly, on the one hand, US officials view Pakistan as an important player in Afghanistan and the region. On the other hand, US is levying major financial cuts on its military aid to Pakistan. How do we interpret these signals in Foreign Office?
Secondly, there are reports that US may increase drone strikes in Pakistan. Pakistan has always maintained its stance that strikes are counter-productive and harmful for dialogue. What options will Pakistan explore in this regard? (Shahid Maitla - ARY News)
We have recently shot down Iranian drone. Will we strike down US drones similarly? Have we summoned Iranian Ambassador to lodge our protest in this regard? (Anwar Abbas - Waqat News)
Responding to Shahid Maitla's first question, White house last month released the President’s budget request which proposes overall reduction in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) across the board. As you know, the budget request will undergo vigorous debate and scrutiny by the US Congress It is therefore premature to comment on something that is essentially an internal US process.
Your second question is speculative in nature. Let me add that our position on drone strikes is well known. Our position is that drone strikes are counter-productive and violate the sovereignty of Pakistan.
Responding to Mr. Anwar Abbas question, we have issued a press release in this regard which contains all the details.
You must have seen reports of India arresting its citizens for celebrating Pakistan’s win over India in ICC Champion Trophy. While Pakistan has highlighted this malicious act, Amnesty International has also called upon India to release its citizens. In your view, what is the difference between Pakistan and an International Organization protesting against India committing human rights violations against its own citizens? (Syed Mohsin Raza - Asas Group of Publications)
I have a similar question. Indian Police has arrested 15 Muslim men in Madhya Pradesh State for celebrating Pakistan's victory over India in ICC Champions Trophy Finals. They are charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy. Please comment! (Sheeba Mahar - Daily SAMAA)
It reflects a sad state of affairs in India. Amnesty International has called on India to immediately release those arrested.
Can you say something about the Japanese Foreign Minister Schedule visit to Pakistan? (Shahid Rahman - Kyodo)
I do not have information on this at this point in time.
Reportedly, Chinese Foreign Minister is visiting Pakistan and Afghanistan during this month for reconciliation between the two countries. Will the revival of QCG be discussed during his visit? Can you please tell us the exact dates and agenda of his visit? (Shabbir Wahghara - PTV World News)
China is an important partner in efforts to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan. Both China and Pakistan are working closely under the initiatives like QCG, Heart of Asia Istanbul process etc. which are aimed at bringing lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. Besides Afghanistan in the context of regional cooperation for security and development, both sides will also review state of bilateral relations. The Chinese Foreign Minister will be visiting over the weekend. Both sides will discuss all issues of mutual interest including the regional situation.
Reportedly, Afghanistan has once again said that they will not accept fencing on Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Your comments please! (Rabia Pir - VOA/ DEEWA Radio)
Border management is an essential component of our counter-terrorism strategy and fencing is among the measures. We believe that to stem the cross-border movement of terrorists, effective border management is imperative. Our efforts of border management are aimed at facilitating movement of people, trade and transit and curb the movement of terrorists. Moreover, we are undertaking the fencing on our side of the border.
UN Secretary General has time and again stated his resolve to mediate between India and Pakistan. Recently, he has stated in his press conference that he has met our Prime Minister thrice and Indian counterpart twice for resolving the issue of Kashmir and all outstanding issues between Pakistan and India. What is Pakistan’s take on it and what did UN Secretary General and Prime Minister talk about in their meeting? (Tariq Sial - Such TV)
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres offered mediation to resolve outstanding disputes between Pakistan and India soon after assumption of the office, which we had welcomed. A similar offer was made in March this year by his Office. I have seen the statement you are referring to. Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute and is outstanding on the UN Security Council agenda. The relevant UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir dispute remain unimplemented, which promise Kashmiris their right to self-determination in accordance with their wishes and aspirations.
UN has a responsibility by virtue of these UN Security Council Resolutions to resolve the issue and call upon India to immediately stop bloodshed of Kashmiris in IoK. Regional countries have also raised concerns over regional security situation due to intransigence and belligerent posturing by India.
EU Parliament has recently passed resolution blaming Pakistan for human rights violations within its territory. How do you see the Indian factor behind this resolution? How will it affect our GSP plus status and the Kulbushan Jhadev case as this case is currently being heard in a country that is part of the EU? (Faisal Raza Khan - 92 News)
The European Parliament passes three resolutions each month on human right situation in different countries of the world. The resolution typically comprises two parts, viz Preamble, in which concerns are listed, and operative part. The latter part of the resolution in question does not recommend any action against Pakistan in the present situation. The resolution in fact notes the progress made in the implementation of Pakistan-EU Five Year Engagement Plan, and expresses hope that the new Strategic Engagement Plan, to be finalized in 2017, will be ambitious and help strengthen ties between the European Union and Pakistan.
The resolution clearly states that EU remains fully committed to continue its dialogue and engagement with Pakistan.
Pakistan has not yet confirmed the death of two abducted Chinese nationals. Second, Interior Minister has said that Pakistan has decided to tighten its visa regime towards China. What is the update? Thirdly, what is the update on missing Pakistani diplomats in Afghanistan? (Naveed Saddique - Dawn News)
We are in contact with Government of Afghanistan for safe and early recovery of our two diplomatic staff who were abducted while they were traveling from Jalalabad to Islamabad. The Afghan government has informed us that they have constituted three special investigation teams to locate and recover the missing officials. We hope and pray that the missing officials would be safely recovered at an early date.
As to your other two questions about the Chinese couple and visa policy towards China, please get an update from the Ministry of Interior. On visa regime, I am aware that Minister for Interior called a meeting in this regard. Again, visa matters fall in the Interior Ministry's domain. What I have gathered from the media reports is that he mentioned about how to ensure and enhance safety and security of Chinese Nationals in Pakistan.