Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 29 September 2016
(2016-09-29) [This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.]
Bismillah IrRehman NirRahim Assalaam Alaikum Friends!
It has been 83 days now and with each passing day Indian atrocities on defenceless Kashmiris are adding to the list of martyrs (over 110), victims with eye injuries (over 800) and other injuries (around 12,000). India has unleashed state terrorism, committing crimes against humanity with impunity, which the international community is watching. Hurriyat leaders remain in detention, and forced disappearances continuing.
Indian hatred against innocent Kashmiris and inability of more than 700,000 fully equipped Indian Occupation Forces to control Kashmiri youth, who are peacefully demanding their right to self-determination, has frustrated them so much that the Kashmiri students studying at Ganga Institute of Management and Technology Haryana are being persecuted by their counterparts and security guards in the campus at the behest of the Indian state. One student was so seriously injured that he is on the verge of incapacitation.
Pakistan remains committed to extending complete diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiris' movement for self-determination.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's participation in the 71st UNGA Session was very productive. Not only did he effectively highlight and apprised the world community on the ongoing human rights violations in IoK by the Indian security forces, but he also met many world leaders on the sidelines to sensitize them on the Kashmiris' plight, and gathered political commitments from various world leaders on Kashmir issue.
Adviser to the Prime Minister, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, also met various dignitaries and effectively raised the case of Kashmiris.
We welcome the first bilateral joint military exercises between Pakistan army and Russian Federation Ground Forces, currently being held in Pakistan from 24 September to 10 October 2016, which has been nick-named "Friendship 2016".
The arrival of four Iranian Naval Ships at the port of Karachi for a three-day visit is also warmly welcome. The Iranian Naval Officers will have professional interaction with their Pakistani counterparts.
Now the Floor is open for Questions
We have seen that India had been trying to sabotage peace efforts in the region and Pakistan's offer for peace talks had been rejected time and again by India. How does Pakistan view India's hegemony in the region and pressurizing other regional countries for not taking part in the 19th SAARC Summit? (Fakhar-u-Rehman - Such TV)
India has refused to take part in the SAARC Conference which is a process for regional cooperation framework. What options Pakistan has left to take before the world to expose India? (Shahid Maitla - ARY News)
We have learnt about the India's unfortunate decision of not attending the Summit. India has a track record of impeding the SAARC process.
Indian intentions of creating hurdles is visible from the actions and statements at the political level during the last two months, coupled with coordinated media efforts.
India is desperate to divert the international community's attention from the atrocities and blatant human rights violations being committed by the Indian Occupation Forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir on defenseless Kashmiri Muslims. During the last eighty three days Indian Occupation Forces have martyred more than 100 innocent Kashmiris, including children, women and young men, caused injuries to the eyes of over 800 through use of Pellet guns, blinding many hundreds, either completely or partially, and injured more than 12000 people.
The Indian atrocities have attracted the world attention, which is manifested in the strong condemnations and calls by the international political and human rights organizations as also members of civil society from across the world for sending fact finding missions to the Indian Occupied Kashmir.
It may be pertinent to mention that the major thrust of SAARC activities is to uplift the socio-economic conditions of the people of South Asia, which has the highest concentration of the world's poor. India's negative attitude has had a direct bearing on the welfare and betterment in this region, which is highly regrettable.
I have two questions. First, at the NAM Summit, Colombia wanted to move a resolution condemning North Korea but India blocked this move. This has exposed the infamous India-North Korea nuclear nexus. Your comments please.
Secondly, a short while ago the Indian DGMO in a statement said that India has conducted surgical strikes last night across the LoC. The statement further says that they have spoken to Pakistan about it. Do you think that these surgical strikes are declaration of war from Indian side? Does Pakistan perceive it as an act of war by India? (Shaukat Paracha - Aaj TV)
With regard to your first question, we have seen these reports. We have also taken note of the report by the UN Security Council Committee, which oversees the implementation of sanctions on DPRK, regarding training of DPRK personnel in India. It is for India to explain the reason for its position during the NAM Summit in Venezuela. If you have excess, you may approach Indian concerned quarters directly for a reply.
On your second question, I am aware that there have been unprovoked violations on the LoC by the Indian security forces. Once we have more information on the issue, we will share it with you.
I have seen media reports, and noted two things, (a) that DG ISPR has given a statement on India's violation of LoC, and mentioned Shahadat of two army personnel; (b) that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned unprovoked breach of the agreement on LoC by the Indian forces.
According to media reports, India has befooled the entire world by declaring an accident blast in oil depot in Army Brigade Headquarters at the town of Uri near the LoC as terrorist attack. Disappointingly, massacre of Kashmiris has not been condemned by the so-called proponents of human rights while killing of the killers has made them express sorrow. Your comments. (Khawaja Nayaar Iqbal - Kashmir Post)
We cannot comment prior to independent investigation report of the Uri attack. If you recall, there was call for an independent inquiry into the Uri attack. I would ask you to see this reported incident in the context of two important backgrounds: (i) ongoing atrocities by Indian security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir and India's desperate attempt to divert world's attention from the region; and (ii) India has demonstrated capability of staging terrorists attack on its soil and blaming it on others. We have seen time and again that India would blame another country for terrorist activity and somewhere down the line it would turn out to be the handiwork of its own security agencies. A glaring example of this is the Samjhauta Express terrorist attack in Feb 2007, the responsibility of which was later on admitted by leaders of India's own terrorist and extremist organizations namely; RSS and Abhinav Bharat. RSS Leader Swami Aseemanand's public confession in December 2010 exposed India. There are many more such incidents that Indian elements belonging to the two terrorist outfits mentioned in collaboration with Indian establishment and agencies carried out and blamed on others.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that India has successfully isolated Pakistan and will intensify that effort so that it is completely isolated globally . Your comments. (Tariq Sial - Daily Times)
Pakistan cannot be isolated by mere statements of the Indian Prime Minister. Pakistan enjoys friendly and close relations with the comity of nations and Prime Minister of Pakistan's engagements on the sidelines of the 71st UNGA session in New York, China's massive investments, joint exercises with Russia, visit of Iranian Naval ships, signing of mega project agreements with Central Asian States, Russia, China and International Financial Institutions make Indian claim a laughing stock.
India has done it in the past and wants to do it again in terms of choking Pakistan’s water resources. Adviser Sartaj Aziz has stated that this is an act of aggression by India. How does Pakistan see this, as India has employed a systematic strategy to isolate Pakistan? (Essa Naqvi - Dunya TV)
Do you believe that India can build its dams in the next few months to restrict or affect water flow into Pakistan and violate the Indus Water Treaty?
Secondly, Kashmir has run out of food and medical facilities to cater to the injured Kashmiri civilians. Does Pakistan want to highlight this particular aspect of human rights violations in Kashmir to the world community? (Anwar Abbas - Waqat News)
As for your question on Indus Water Treaty, we have seen the media reports but have not received any formal communication on the matter.
The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) is not time barred and was never intended to be time or event specific. It is binding on both India and Pakistan and has no exit provision.
According the sub-provisions (3) and (4) of the Article XII of the IWT, the Treaty cannot be altered or revoked unilaterally.
There is an Arbitration mechanism provided in IWT to resolve the disputes related to the implementation of the Treaty. This mechanism has been utilized by Indian and Pakistan to resolve many Indus water related disputes amicably. India cannot unilaterally revoke IWT as it would undermine India's international standing.
Pakistan is closely monitoring the situation and would respond accordingly.
As to your second question, given the grave situation with constant curfew, media blackout, Kashmiris have run out of food and medical facilities. Kashmiris are being injured and killed constantly. On top of that while more than 700,000 Indian security forces have already been deployed in the region, Indian authorities are sending more troops every day.
Pakistan will continue to raise the issue of Indian brutalities in IoK at the UN, OIC and all other international forums as also with the HR Organizations across the world. A series of activities organized by the Kashmiri Diaspora and Self-Determination Movement Organizations across Europe, Nordic region and North America with the support of local Parliamentarians, Pakistani Diaspora and Civil Society Members. PM’s Special Envoys are undertaking visits to various Capitals and sensitizing the elected representatives there as well as members of the civil society and our Diaspora. International Community is constantly apprised and pursued to play its role to immediately end the bloodshed in the IoK. India has unleashed a reign of terror in IoK. We are sure that the international community cannot ignore such a genocide of Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces and fulfill its responsibly to ensure the realization of the right to self determination of the Kashmiri people, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. Pakistan remains committed to the Kashmiri people's cause.
There have been reports about surgical strikes in LoC. Could you give us a more specific description of the level of escalation in the area? Do you expect more clashes, or military buildup leading on to further escalation of the situation?
Has the SAARC Summit been cancelled or postponed?
On the recent clashes in LoC, do you see any chance of diplomatic solution to this problem?
To the question of Indus Water Treaty, you have said that Pakistan is closely monitoring the situation and that India cannot unilaterally revoke the treaty? How realistic is the Indian threat to restrict Pakistan's water, or is it just mere speculations on the part of India? (Shaima Khalil - BBC)
I would respond to your last question first. I have just replied to the questions on Indus Water Treaty, which has been very clear and self explanatory.
As far as diplomatic efforts are concerned Pakistan has always called for dialogue, particularly with regard to the issue of Kashmir, for achieving lasting peace and stability in the region. During the recent atrocities in IoK, Pakistan has sent two letters to Indian Government for an exclusive dialogue on Kashmir with the view to resolve the longstanding issue. India has not been forthcoming in accepting Pakistan's offers for dialogue. India's conditional approach to dialogue is unacceptable.
Before the current phase, and you will agree with me, there have been many occasions in the past where both India and Pakistan came very close to having exchange of visits to decide on dialogue process but India would back-track at the last minute from these commitments on the pretext of one excuse or the other.
Regarding your question on SAARC Summit, India has a track record of impeding the SAARC process. Whenever Summit has been postponed, each time any of the participating member states declines to participate in the SAARC Summit, it is postponed after a due process. In the history of SAARC Summits most of the postponements have been caused by India's negative attitude towards the SAARC process. Since the past two months, India had made it very clear through its state-administered media that it would back out from the Summit.
As to your first question regarding LoC, ceasefire violation by India without provocation did take place. India has admitted it. Once we have more details about it, we will definitely share with you.
India claims that it had shared evidence on Uri attack with Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi yesterday. There are also reports that the High Commissioner responded in no time declaring that the evidence was false. Was this evidence shared in Islamabad at the highest level? Your comments please. (Mateen Haider – Dawn News)
Here, I want to draw a distinction between evidence and information. What they have shared with us is just a piece of paper. In the previous incidents too, there has been exchange of papers. We are waiting for details to come. Once received, we will look into the details and will share them accordingly.
India's External Affairs Minister claimed Kashmir is an integral part of India, while speaking at the UNGA Session. She denied human rights violations in IoK as baseless. Your comments. (Amjad Ali – PTV)
The statement by the Indian External Affairs Minister referring to Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir as an integral part of India is the denial of the UN Security Council resolutions calling for free, fair and impartial plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the people of the Jammu and Kashmir. It was an arrogant, irresponsible and highly regrettable act to discredit the sanctity of the UN Security Council Resolutions at the very UN Forum. The UN members should take note of it and should admonish India.
The Indian government cannot absolve itself from the killings of more than 110,000 innocent Kashmiri people since its occupation of IoK. Discovery of Mass Graves of thousands of indigenous Kashmiris, whom India killed by falsely labeling them as infiltrators, calls for initiation of case against India for committing crimes against humanity.
We condemn the grave human rights violations being perpetrated by the Indian Occupation forces in the IoK. Pakistan’s call for a free and impartial investigation through the Fact Finding Mission of the United Nations to ensure the accountability for brutalities in IoK has been joined by the calls by the UN Human Rights Commissioner, OIC, Members of OIC Contact Group on Kashmir and civil society from across the world.
My question is about the growing nexus between India and Baloch separatist leaders. In an interview, Baloch separatist leader Dr. Allah Nazar asked New Delhi and the whole world to support them with cash and arms against Pakistan. He also said that they will continue sabotaging CPEC projects. What’s your stance on this?
Secondly, there are reports that there has been an exchange of fire along Pak-Afghan border. Has Pakistan contacted Kabul in this regard? (Muddassar Hussain – Khyber TV)
As regard Pak-Afghan border, we have a mechanism in place and whenever anything of this sort happens, we discuss such incidents under that arrangement.
You also mentioned about India's nexus with 2-3 Baloch men. We have raised this issue many times on various occasions and have also submitted dossiers to the UNSG last year which containing evidence of Indian involvement in terrorism inside Pakistan, particularly the Indian involvement in stirring up the situation in Balochistan. I think now everything is crystal-clear after the arrest of Kulbushan Yadav, Indian intelligence agency, RAW’s officer, and his public confession, Indian Prime Minister’s Independence-Day statement, and the statements by 1-2 odd Baloch elements, who are enjoying perks and living abroad. They are paid for vilifying Pakistan, and they even applied for India’s nationality. What else do you need to establish a clear connection between India and those elements which are disturbing peace in Pakistan and carrying out terrorist activities? To me it’s very clear and it should also be very clear to you as well.
We say that there was a violation of LoC last night and India says that they have carried out surgical strikes. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has termed it a blatant violation of peace on LoC. What really happened there? What was the real incident, can you please describe it?
My question is about our efforts to highlight the Kashmir issue with special reference to PM’s Special Envoys, like writing letters to the world leaders. During the UN session, did we receive any response from the leaders and delegations of those countries?
Secondly, as regard the SAARC Summit when India declined to attend it, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also followed suit and declined to attend the Summit. I want to ask that what was the status of these countries’ participation before the Indian refusal, whether they had agreed to participate or not? (Majid Jarral – News One)
With regard to your question about SAARC, all member countries had actually agreed to participate. It is only once the countries principally agree on the venue and dates that the final dates of the Summit are fixed. So in this case, all member states agreed to hold this year’s Summit in Pakistan.
Pertaining to the efforts of our Envoys on Kashmir, I have earlier mentioned about it in a very detailed manner that the process of sending the Envoys has started. Before the Envoy reaches the capital, his meetings have to be arranged with the parliamentarians, at other political levels and their interactions with the civil society. When the UNGA happened, the process had just started. Only one Envoy, MNA Mr. Awais Leghari was on visit to the specified country at that time. It is a continuous process. You can’t expect solution or result overnight. These efforts are ongoing, and Kashmiris are paying the price for their demand of self-determination with their lives and blood. But one thing is constant, and that is our commitment to the cause of Kashmir, and raising the issue of Kashmiris’ sufferings at the hands of Indian security forces at all forums.
Since India has tried to sabotage SAARC process, has Pakistan any intention to hold any other conference with other countries of the region like Iran or China? (Asghar Ali Mubarak – Daily Mail Islamabad)
I have said this thing many times that Pakistan believes in regional peace and stability. Pakistan pursues the policy of peace with its neighbors. We do not believe in spending our resources and energy on the activities which are detrimental to the peace and development of the region unlike one country. Pakistan considers it has a very unique role to play in the connectivity of the entire region including South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia. Pakistan would like to exploit this potential of regional connectivity more than using our energies towards undertaking activities just to teach lesson to one country. This is unlike that country, which is constantly engaged in vilification campaigns against Pakistan, and remains involved in undertaking all measures to sabotage peace-building efforts in the region.
Notwithstanding this, we already have a number of cooperative mechanisms in place. Just to refer a few, we are part of CAREC, ECO, SCO, ACD, etc. We will definitely undertake all such measures which will help in promoting development and cooperation in this region.
My question pertains to the upcoming Afghanistan Conference in Brussels. There were earlier reports that Adviser Sartaj Aziz would represent Pakistan in the Conference. Would Adviser Aziz talk about the revival of QCG process in the meeting? Is there any plan for a bilateral meeting with Afghan leadership on the sidelines? (Naveed Akbar – Dunya Newspaper)
Afghanistan has been growing its bilateral ties with India at the cost of those with Pakistan. How do you see this, especially when Pakistan is hosting around three million Afghan refugees in his country? (Essa Naqvi - Daily Dunya)
With regard to Afghanistan Conference in Brussels, I do not have any details about who will represent Pakistan. If we have an invitation, we may attend the conference.
On QCG, we must understand that it is a process for facilitating peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan through negotiations. It is essentially an intra-Afghan issue. Pakistan is committed to lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan through peaceful dialogue, and has been part of various initiatives to fulfill this objective. QCG members Pakistan, US, China and Afghanistan have stated their interest in QCG process for peace in Afghanistan.
At this time I cannot say whether there will be a bilateral meeting with Afghanistan leadership, but such occasions are generally used to hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines.
To your supplementary question on Afghanistan, we do't comment on relations between the two sovereign states. However, our only concern is that no country should allow its territory to be used against Pakistan in any way. Yes, the three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan are reflective of our commitment to the Afghan people to help them and to see that they return with peace, dignity and honour. What you are talking about are sporadic statements from certain elements among Afghan political leadership. These statements do not in any way reflect the sentiments of Afghan people towards Pakistan and such statements serve those who do not want to see peace in Afghanistan.